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Secret police networks? The number you have dialled is not in service…

“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office and Customs Criminal Investigation Office have been part of an international working group on the cross-border deployment of police spies. The question of who set up this informal network and on whose instructions it was set up, however, is to remain confidential,” said Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko, expressing his criticism of the recently published answer to a minor interpellation.

Under the heading “Secret international police networks”, Andrej Hunko had requested information on informal working groups that focus on the deployment of undercover investigators, law enforcement Trojans and surveillance technology.

Andrej Hunko continued:

“These secret police networks have established themselves beyond the sphere of public control. The Federal Government does give an insight into the way these informal alliances work, even though it refused to publish many of its answers in the public section of its answer.

Neither parliamentarians nor the public were aware of the existence of many of these working groups. We were therefore unable to ask questions about the groups’ working methods. It is an absolute mockery that, when questioned about this contradiction, the Federal Government refers to the right to ask questions that Members of the Bundestag have.

The Federal Government is now at least stating its position on the dubious prosecution proceedings against the British police spy Mark Kennedy, who used a false identity to deceive the Berlin public prosecution office while he was on trial for arson. Although this is prohibited under the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is “in fact not out of the question” that spies might also deceive the authorities in their host country. This makes international spying operations increasingly difficult to control.

It is clear that these organisations are not connected to any specific institution. That is why I asked whether this matter was ever considered in committee meetings of the EU or the United Nations. I fail to understand why even this answer should only be accessible in the Document Security Office of the German Bundestag.

Furthermore, private companies and institutes are also involved in many cases, for example in the deployment of spies and Trojans and in the cross-border use of surveillance technology. The Federal Government refuses to give any answers on this subject. The only information I have received concerns the names of some of the 35 companies that participated in a police meeting on animal-rights activism.

This is a calculated silence. I suspect that it is to prevent the fact coming to light that several of these secret working groups were set up on the initiative of German authorities. It was only after repeated and persistent enquiries on my part that the Federal Government confirmed that this is the case in, for example, the use of Trojans.

Instead of informing the public of the questionable activities of its police authorities, the Federal Government criticises my use of the word “spy”. The Federal Government claims that undercover investigators are operating in “groups that are extremely likely to use violence”. However, my concern has always been the investigators’ activities in left-wing contexts. By using formulations such as the one above, the Federal Government is putting left-wing activism in the same corner as “terrorism” and “organised crime.

I therefore stick to my position that the cross-border deployment of German police spies in political movements only serves to criminalise them. The allegation that the infiltrated groups would “not stop short” of murder is a statement I vehemently oppose”.

Answer of the Federal Government to the minor interpellation “Secret international police networks”: http://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/doc_download/229

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