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Short reports: December 2001

21.12.2001: 46th day in court

The overwhelming logic of the public prosecution

Even the early morning snow could not hold back around a dozen visitors from witnessing the last day in court this year.

The BKA officer van Elkan was again questioned on the raid of 23.11.1999 in the flat of the accused Axel H. The pistol which was found and confiscated underwent an arms technical investigation by the BKA, without a result. In the confiscated note- and address books, Tarek Mousli wants to have recognised the writing of the accused H. The police officer could not explain how this identification was possible. He also had no knowledge of the result of the comparative analysis of the hand writing which was apparently initiated.

At the end of this very short court day, the public prosecutors Bruns and Maegerle could not refrain from rejecting the applications lodged by Harald G.'s defence lawyers the day before. It is not necessary, they thought, to provide a tape deck to be able to order the tapes resulting from Mousli's communication inerception according to their time of recording. Afer all, there had only been inconsistencies in one case, which they were able to explain. Apparently also not relevant to the trial is the insight by the defence lawyers into files of further investigation results of the BKA. The contradictions to be found in the situation report by the authority from August 1999 were completely logical, if one followed logic. The prosecution claimed that the defence tried to make the trial impossible to follow by introducing so much material. The defence lawyers Kaleck and Würdinger said the arguments of the public prosecution were without style and without basis.

In 2002 the trial continues: the next day in court is on Thursday, 3.1, most probably with the crown witness.

20.12.2001: 45th day in court

Lack of memory and silence

On the third day of his interrogation, witness Ralf Trede (active as BKA investigating officer against the RZ between 1998-99) was supposed to inform about the investigation activities of the BKA. In particular two themes were addressed: how was Matthias B. identified as "Heiner"? Which investigation files were and are continued to be withheld from the court and the defence? The witness could only shed little light on events: memory gaps alternated with partial answers. The defence lodged an application for the original tapes resulting from the interception of Mousli's phone and the original version of a BKA situation report that had obviously been tampered with.

14.12.2001: 44th day in court

Price conscious BKA officer Trede dined with the public prosecution at the Savignyplatz

The questioning of BKA officer Trede on the explosives found in the water trench was continued today. Themes were the credibility of the witness Karmen T., the question of when Mousli was first offered to take part in the crown witness regulation and various consultations between Trede and the public prosecution before the trial days of yesterday and today.

In particular it became clear that Trede's statements from yesterday on the detected explosives at least contradict the relevant files the defence has been given insight into. Whilst Trede reported about long searches, originating in Mousli's problems in exactly identifiyng the place where he threw the explosives into the trench, the files say that he could identify the precise position, as the position is repeatedly referred to as the "initially stated position". Today also could not clarify why two search operations could not localise the explosives.

It also became evident that several contradictions were not followed up by the BKA, also not when on 24.8.1999 an alarm clock was found at the place that Mousli identified, but that the explosives were found around 170 metres against the stream in the trench. The BKA also did not react to the assertion of the witness Karmen T. that Mousli could not have known the locality around the trench in 1995.

The witness Trede (41 years old) narrowly escaped perjury yesterday, when he insisted that he did not talk to public prosecutor Bruns before his interrogation in court. Today he conceded that such a talk did take place, further he had to admit to have spent yesterday evening with public prosecutors Bruns and Maegerle, from 5 pm "to about 11 pm". Despite intensive efforts by the defence, which was again attacked by judge Alban and public prosecutor Bruns, Trede refused to give details about the nature of the talk of the past eveving. He only conceded that "it was a chaotic time at the BKA between 17 July and 24 August 1999", the only statement that the defence could decipher between the permament memory gaps and evasive answers.

Without being reprimanded by the presiding judge, he claimed not to remember the telephone conversation he had with Bruns "around three or four weeks ago", or to remember which files he viewed on 4 December 2001, that is ten days ago. Even when he stopped reacting at all to the defence's question on what his colleagues from the BKA thought of "their" crown witness after they could not locate the explosives, the presiding judge Hennig refrained from interfering.

The trial day ended in a corresponding aggressive athmosphere on 12.30 pm and will be continued Thursday 20.12 with another interrogation of Trede.

13.12.2001: 43rd day in court

"I would really like to help you, but"

Today the only witness in court was BKA officer Ralf Trede. Since November 1997, himself and others were investigating, under the auspices of the public prosecution, the use and any findings of the explosive Gelamon after 1987. During the investigation, Trede became a close colleague of the long serving officer Schulzke.

Both investigated the current crown witness Mousli and his then girlfriend Karmen T. They claim the investigation was triggered by the detection of explosives after they were stolen from a cellar in Berlin in 1995. A young petty criminal with previous convictions was "convinced" by them to lead them to the cellar, where a crime technical investigation was then initiated, and the existence of an explosives depot was able to be proven. The following investigation then concentrated on the owners of the cellar, Mousli and his former girlfriend. Undercover investigations then led to searches of Mousli's flat and his first arrest in 1999. Trede then concentrated solely on the missing Gelamon, which Mousli apparently hid in an area in Buch.

The search at the named trench first remained unsuccessful, only after an extended search in August 1999 could the police locate the explosive.

The whole trial day was marked by the obviously trained and studied manner by which the witness responded to questions. Evading answers, sudden attacks of forgetfullness, detailed recitations about irrelevant points, answers to non-existent questions, this was the tactical appearance in court. What did the investigating BKA officers actually do between 1995 (explosives detected after break in), November 1997 (explosive defined as connected to RZ attacks) and March 1998? How was it possible to "convince" the obviously unwilling young thief to show the officers the cellar? How is it possible that Tarek Mousli knew the trench in Buch at the time of the break in, although his girlfriend only showed it to him at a later date? Why do the investigating officers do not question the credibility of the suspect, turned crown witness, after the first searches at the trench obviously proved the location to be a false one? Why was the location where, later on, the explosive was found, not adequately examined and documented?

Rarely did an interrogation in this trial provide better answers to questions that were not answered.

But not always did it go so smoothly. After Trede first denied any contacts between the different authorities (BKA and BAW) in relation to the content of the current trial, the public prosecutor himself had to remind him of several telephone conversations both of them had, in order to save "his man at the BKA" from possible perjury. Even on that matter, said officer Trede, he had to think about a little longeruntil tomorrow, Friday, 14.12 from 9.15 am (same place), then it continues!

07.12.2001: 42nd day in court

Six in less than three hours

Several witnesses appeared today, who were questioned on the investigation into the Korbmacher case and the bomb attack on the Siegessäule, or rather, the interpretation methods of the Federal Crime Police Authority (BKA). From the altogether six witnesses, five came from the armed state organs, the sixth was a taxi driver.

Chief detective superintendent i.R. Joachim Meiser (64), whose interrogation lasted five minutes, took part in the investigation into the vehicle used in the Korbmacher attack. The only interesting aspect of his statement was that for the first time in this trial it was mentioned that the different RZ declarations on the attack were of a different format. His colleague Horst Nickel (62), police officer a.D., ordered the examination of the flight vehicle used in the attack which had been standing in a street in Dahlem for months. In great detail he reported on how, why and in what manner the car was secured and identified. The 48-year-old Klaus Brinkmann (BKA) held a talk about his investigation into the arson device found in the car, which did not explode. His task was the detection of possible correlations in the materials used for attacks ("Tatmittelübereinstimmung") with the result that similar devices had been used in attacks in Hamburg and Hanover, but not in Berlin.

After an early lunch break, the pensioner and former crime police officer Eberhard Marter (64) reported on the situation at the Siegessäule, the morning after the failed bomb attack on the figure of Victoria. After that, the only putative witness to this attack, the taxi driver Antje B. (38), took the stand. She was in her taxi on the Straße des 17. Juli at the time of the explosion but had not noticed any suspicious circumstances. She only noticed a small cloud at the Siegessäule which she thought stemmed from a fireworks rocket. The last person to give a statement was the BKA officer Michael Döll (50), on the technical examination method on carbon strips, where he gave an impressive lecture and description of this partially automatic procedure.

06.12.2001: 41st day in court

From the court room of open questions to the lecture theatre of open answers

Today's court day saw two witnesses and two experts. The first witness was heard in relation to the bomb attack of February 1987 on the Central Social Security Office for Asylum Seekers (ZSA). Gerda E. (administrative employee at that authority) reported that at that time there had only existed a single computer. A central computer was only installed in 1990/91.

The second witness, by now pensioner Karlheinz Halfter reported, despite "little remembrance", on how he found the ZSA after the attack, on the investigation and collection of evidence and how he came to conclusions as to the possible route used by the attackers, the possible time of the attack and the possible amount of damage to property caused by the same. The "examination" of pictures and maps and the "recitation" of text passages of the report he made at the time, all helped in the sometimes strenuous attempts to remember. It is all the more surprising that after 15 years he was able to remember the demand for free floating ("Für freies Fluten") out of the RZ statement admitting to the attack at the time.

After former crime police officer Halfter had at least qualified himself as trained in investigating explosives with several educational seminars, Dr. Hans-Joachim K. gave his expert opinion afterwards with his remarkable knowledge of explosives. In almost two hours, trial observers received a detailed lecture on the chemical composition, on producers, storage and the behaviour of explosives. That the court room at times turned into a lecture theatre is probably also down to Dr. K.'s fascination with the subject. However, the witness could not answer the crucial question, that is, if one can draw conclusions on the length of storage from the chemicals that remain after a long-lasting storage of Gelamon 40 (if the conditions of storage are known). This question now has to be answered by another expert.

The second expert opinion in today's trial day came from IT specialist Wolfgang D. from the BKA. Several strange occurances during the examination of the tapes resulting from the interception of the crown witness had led to questions by the Senate as well as the defence lawyers. So the BKA officer, with a detailed two hour report (even with a visual representation in the form of an interception machine) gave insight into how people's communication is intercepted. At certain points however, just like his predecessor, he could not clarify events. In the centre of attention was data such as day, time and place, which are collected in the context of the intercepted conversation. Because part of this data is also collected in collaboration with the relevant communications providers, the witness argued, there is a possibility that contradictions could be explained with technical problems the providers might have encountered.