22 April 2015

Remembering little, taking no responsibility – a secret service career.

A witness statement that was awaited with great interest was that of Gordian Meyer-Plath, today president of the domestic secret service of Saxony. He had been contact officer of informer Carsten Szczepanski from 1996 to 1998. Szczepanski had reported in the second half of 1998 that Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos were in contact with Blood & Honour Chemnitz/Saxony, that they had received money from them, that B&H members Antje Probst and Jan Werner had offered to help in procuring false identity papers and guns (on the testimony of Szczepanski, see the reports of 3 December 2014 and 13 January 2015). He had also reported that “the Three” had already committed one robbery and were planning further robberies.

Meyer-Plath claimed not to remember anything concrete regarding these facts. What few memories he had had come back to him when he read the case file in preparing for the parliamentary inquest and the trial in Munich. At the time in question, he had worked for the domestic secret service in Brandenburg, first in “analysis”, then in “procurement”, he had been second contact officer for Szczepanski. He remembered Szczepanski’s reports, but was unable to provide details. He also reported that there had been a meeting of the secret service agencies of Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg, but he had not been present at that meeting and thus could not relate why the police was not informed immediately. Of course, it would have been an obvious step to tell the police to look at Jan Werner, Antje Probst and their surroundings in Chemnitz in trying to catch the three who had gone underground – this could have prevented all the crimes forming the subject of the Munich trial.

Besides the memory problems, an issue well known to participants in the proceedings, this testimony showed once more how secret service officers avoid taking any responsibility and answering questions: somehow who worked in “procurement” claims not to know anything about what happened with the information he procured, while someone working in “analysis” of course has no knowledge of how the service came upon the material he is analyzing.

The witness was able, at least, to report that in the late 1990s, several discussion papers on “armed struggle” were circulating in the scene and that this had not been a regional or national, but an international discussion.

The next witness, whose testimony proved entirely useless, was a former secret service agent Wiessner from Thuringia. He claimed not to have had any knowledge of “the Three” having guns or planning bank robberies. As to the report by informer Degner that they did not need any more money since they were “doing jobs”, Wiessner claimed that he had taken Degner to mean they were working “cash in hand” – this despite the fact that “to do jobs” (“jobben”) is a well-known term in the scene for robbing banks, i.e. the actual way in which the NSU members procured money.