22 January 2014

A „smoothed out“ investigation

Today’s trial day, concerning the murder in Heilbronn, showed how the taking of evidence is effected when all state organs involved, from the police to the court, try to sweep under the rug any possible contradiction. The evidence today, which in the view of the court was apparently meant to answer most open questions, in fact raised more questions than it answered. This, however, only lead all parties involved to pretend all the more forcefully that everything is now cleared up. The Zschäpe defense, in particular, was totally passive, it seems to be involved in the proceedings only when it comes to blocking questions from victims’ counsel. This passivity is surprising given that it would seem that Zschäpe would be interested in raising doubts that she, together with Mundlos and Böhnhardt, had committed the murder.

A medical expert testified on his examinations on cause of death and the order of events. He had apparently used a lot of modern technology, but still his report left open many essential questions, most importantly how the shots were fired and whether there were more than two perpetrators. What is clear, however, is that a pair of pants belonging to Mundlos was soiled with blood splatters from Kiesewetter that can only have arisen directly during the shooting, i.e. that Mundlos wore those pants during the commission of the crime. Also, this crime, similar to the other NSU murders, was perpetrated in the style of an execution.

The next witness was a police weapons expert who secured the weapons found in the mobile home with the dead bodies of Böhnhardt and Mundlos. He first of all confirmed that the duty weapons of Arnold and Kiesewetter had been identified rather quickly. Concerning the two pump guns, he reported that both had had the same caliber. The first one had been severely deformed by the heat, it had still contained a cartridge or a shell casing. The other weapon, a Winchester Defender – the gun which was almost certainly used by Böhnhardt and Mundlos to kill themselves – had been found with an open breech and in the condition after a fired shot, with a spent shell casing inside. Two shell casings, which could have come from either shotgun, had been found on the floor. This would seem to dispel the conspiracy theory that only a third party could have killed the two Uwes – however, a new question arises at the same time since the state of of knowledge before this testimony had never been that there had been three shots. Neither the court nor prosecution or defense saw any reasons to inquire into this new development, only victims’ counsel asked questions.

Other witnesses confirmed details of the indictment.

The final witness was the lead investigator of the federal police, detective Giedke. As could be expected, his testimony could not be finished today and will continue next week. In July and October 2012, the witness had authored concluding investigation reports, which later formed the basis for the indictment. In these reports, he apparently smoothed out all contradictions and doubts, e.g. as concerns a commanding officer of Kiesewetter’s and Arnold’s who had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan – in the report, Giedke simply notes that that officer had of course only been passively involved, had left the KKK in 2002 and had “credibly” stated that he had had no contact to “the Three” or the NSU. Giedke confirmed that Böhnhardt und Mundlos had been in Stuttgart, presumably to scout out potential murder victims – but at the same time he claims that there had been no clue which could have led to further investigations, for example into contacts into the Nazi scene in Southwest Germany.

Concerning an article by weekly Der Stern according to which an American secret service had, during the course of another investigation, happened to observe a shootout between “Nazi agents”, police and German secret service, Giedke claimed that this had been investigated and found out to be false as both the American embassy and German secret service had confirmed that no such events had taken place.

Asked about a statement by Kiesewetter’s uncle, an officer with the political police in Thuringia, before the uncovering of the NSU that there must be a connection between the killing of his niece and the “Turk murders”, Giedke at first claimed not to really remember. Only after some critical questions by victims’ counsel did he confirm that there had been such a statement.

It was only after court and prosecution had no further questions and the victims’ counsel raised some critical queries that it became evident that Giedke had not conducted any investigations, but had only summarized the summaries of the various lead detectives and had smoothed them out in the process. Asked about untrue statements in his report concerning Kiesewetter’s duties in the context of Nazi demonstrations, he finally admitted that he had “just copied” these statements and had probably not looked at all documents again.

It becomes apparent once more that the court and the prosecution are only interested in confirming the indictment, not in actually elucidating the facts. In February 2012, the German chancellor had promised victims’ families that the facts would be uncovered to the maximum extent possible. The federal prosecutor’s office, in a statement to the press last week, acted directly contrary to such promises when it asked journalists not to believe any theories by victims’ counsel and trust the investigations, stating that everything had been investigated and none of these theories had been confirmed. For the victims of the NSU, who on top of the Nazi terror had faced racist investigations targeting them as suspects, such requests for “trust” are a slap in the face.