2 March 2016

Challenge for bias rejected, robbery of a post office and even more reasons to get abolish the domestic secret service

The challenge brought by the Wohlleben defense against all judges for alleged bias was rejected – as was to be expected since it was simply based on a (likely willful) misunderstanding of the decision on which it was based. The court continued the trial – beginning, however, only at 1 p.m. and without giving any reasons for the delay.

It first heard two witnesses concerning an NSU robbery of a post office in Zwickau in July of 2011. This crime was quite similar to the other robberies– tellers threatened with guns, customers entering the office sprayed with pepper spray, a loot of roughly 75,000 marks, severe psychological consequences for the postal workers still noticeable during their testimony in court.

The court than called the witness going by the alias of “Rainer Görlitz” – to the surprise of the parties given that Görlitz’ testimony had been announced for the morning session, which had after all been cancelled. This marked the third appearance of Görlitz, officer of the interior secret service of Brandenburg and former contact officer of Carsten Szczepanski, in the courtroom (on his previous appearances see the reports of 1 July 2015 and 29 July 2015, on those of Szczepanski the reports of 3 December 2014 and 13 January 2015). During his last appearance on 29 July 2015, the court had seized documents Görlitz had used to prepare for his testimony and brought with him into the courtroom.

Görlitz’ testimony would constitute a (continued) scandal – if only the public was not already used to the secret service strategy of trying to bury all relevant information.

First of all, it is obvious that the reason for the delay in starting the trial day was not that the court needed additional time to deal with the Wohlleben defense challenges, but that it had forgotten to decide on a victims’ counsel motion which aimed to make files concerning Szczepanski, namely those documents used by Görlitz and his colleague to prepare for their appearances in court and before the parliamentary enquiry, part of the case file. Before Görlitz’ testimony could begin, therefore, presiding judge Götzl read out the decision denying this motion. Part of the reasoning:

„There are no reasons to believe that witness Görlitz has not told the truth in court, in the sense that he has not told everything he knew.”

Görlitz – once more – disproved this statement to the utmost of his abilities today.
Again he brought documents with him and tried several times to read them before answering. Twice he had to be asked to stop chewing gum during his testimony. He pretended not to have understood even the clearest of questions, pretended not to remember anything, was caught giving untrue statements several times and claimed to have “erred”. And when all this was not enough, he simply refused to answer the questions by claiming that the topics covered were not among those he had been authorized by the secret service to answer.

These proceedings once more strengthened the impression that the Brandenburg secret service is doing all it can to keep from the public what kind of activities informer Szczepanski had engaged in with his contact officers. After all, Szczepanski was in close contact with members of Blood and Honour and Combat 18 in Germany and all over the world, after all he published a zine openly propagating armed resistance. If was someone in the relevant time was in a position to build up armed cells, it was Szczepanski.

Towards the end, Görlitz’ feigned memory loss and shear refusal to testify reached such a level that his testimony was not formally concluded today. The Wohlleben defense announced that it would bring a motion for the court to ask the secret service to allow Görlitz to testify on additional matters; it remains to be seen whether they will make good on that promise.
The court’s handling of the situation showed once more that it is simply not interested in any more substantial elucidation of the facts. Given the snail’s pace at which the trial is being conducted at the moment, adding Görlitz’ files to the case file would not have led to any delays in the trial – nonetheless the court denied the motion and thus once more prevented information on the role of the secret service and the NSU’s cooperation with other groups and other networks from becoming public.