14 October 2015

The defense continues its desperate motions. And: Lies and Trivialization, Part 16 – Mario Brehme once more.

Today the court rejected the motion for reconsideration brought yesterday by the Wohlleben defense. After a long recess requested by the Wohlleben defense, counsel Klemke read out a challenge for bias brought by his client against all judges. Once more, the reasoning was limited to the infighting within the Zschäpe defense, with only one meager sentence at the end devoted to trying to show its relevance to Wohlleben’s case. Counsel Grasel announced that Zschäpe “joined” the challenge for bias. It will be up to other judges of the court to find that these challenges lack any merit. Presiding judge Götzl decided not to wait for their decision, but to continue the trial in the meantime.

The only witness today was Mario Brehme, who already testified once on 15 July 2015. Brehme again behaved in an extremely impertinent and pseudo-eloquent manner and presented himself as a staunch neo-Nazi. As far as the contents of his testimony are concerned, he did everything he could to evade questions asked by the court, going far beyond the limits of ridiculousness in doing so. For example, questioned about members of the “Thuringia Home Guard” (Thüringer Heimatschutz, THS), he simply repeated time and again the claim that the only member beside himself was informer Tino Brandt. At the same time, he described the THS as a sub-organization of the “Community of Conviction of the New Front” (Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front, GdNF), detailing that he had been bound by instructions coming from Brandt, while Brandt had received instructions from the GdNF. All other “comrades” in the local Kameradschaften making up the THS network had been under him.

As to Ralf Wohlleben, he tried to present him as an insignificant Nazi, one who had not even been a member of the THS, and on the other hand as someone who had totally abhorred all violence. However, his testimony was so unbelievable on its face that his attempt to protect Wohlleben will fail like others have before. The witness let slip that he considered the accused as members of the THS bound by his instructions when he recalled having sharply criticized Beate Zschäpe for registering a demonstration under the name “Initiative Thuringia Home Guard” – the falsely added “Initiative” had raised his ire.

Brehme also used every opportunity to show that he is still a committed, violent neo-Nazi: When asked whether he had taken part in target shooting, he answered “If there was a chance to do so I surely did not say No – Use It or Lose It.”And when asked about the inhuman anti-Semitic game “Pogromly”, he criticized that the name had been “hard to pronounce” and that in order to make it “a game for the masses”, they should have “added another O – but presumably there was no space on the gameboard”.

In the end, a discussion arose whether or not the witness had to answer the question whether he had ever worked as an informer for the domestic secret service. Shortly after 5 pm, the presiding judge interrupted Brehme’s questioning, Brehme will have to come to Munich once more.

The presiding judge also announced that today’s trial day was canceled “due to the challenge for bias”, surprising all participants. Even leaving aside that it is an affront to the participants in the trial, some of whom have traveled quite far to the courtroom, to tell them this in an aside at the end of a long trial day: there is simply no reason for the court to cancel the trial day tomorrow. The witnesses had been summoned, parties were present, and German criminal procedure easily allows the court to continue for one more day after a challenge for bias has been brought.

It becomes more and more evident that the court is not conducting the trial at full speed – one can only speculate as to the reasons why.