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Criminal Agency: Castor steered by "terrorists"

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(January 24, 1997) In Germany, and internationally, through the nuclear industry magazineNucleonics Week, the "battle of the Castor transports" reached new heights, before the transport actually hit the streets.

(465.4621) WISE-Amsterdam -The transport of high-level radioactive waste to the interim storage facility at Gorleben has been the scene of massive and mainly non-violent actions over the last few years. In a country with a history of repression against left-wing opposition groups, now the Bundesamt fuer Verfassungschutz (BFV, the federal criminal investigation agency) claims that the anti-nuclear protest movement is steered by "terrorists". Not only sabotage actions which took place but also acts of civil disobedience are seen as acts of groups "not motivated by concerns about nuclear energy but rather aim to destroy the German state". Especially anarchist and autonomous groups and the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism, re-formed from the former East German Communist party) should, according to the BFV, be seen as being responsible for violent activities. The great mass of German protesters against transports and radioactive materials are "being misused by so-called "autonomous groups"of seasoned, violent demonstrators whose armed and masked members engage in pitched battles with police". According to the BFV, such groups are able to mobilize about 6,000 members.

Leading persons in the local groups around Gorleben, the so-called Bürgerinitiative Unweltschutz, are under investigation by the federal criminal investigation agency. They are looking into "alledged connections between the group Freies Republic Wendland" (Free Republic of Wendland, the Gorleben Region) and "the legendary Red Army Fraction" the group responsible for "the most spectacular and deadly terrorist strikes in Germany and Europe since the 1970s".

It is a common practice in Germany to try to divide opposition groups into "allowed" and "not-allowed" forms of protest. This strategy was already used in the 1970s when resistance at the nuclear reactors at Brokdorf, Grohnde and Kalkar ended several times in police brutality and militant resistance. In the 1980s, the same strategy was used to try to split the massive resistance against the construction of the reprocessing plant at Wackerdorf. Now, in the 1990s, the division that is being tried to be made between, for instance Greenpeace Germany and the local "autonomous" groups, the Federation of Peaceful Action Groups (which according to BFV plays a leading coordinating role and is described as an "umbrella anarchist body"). The report claims that Greenpeace Germany, due to pressure from Greenpeace International, backed away from open support for the anti-nuclear-transport movement.

The next Castor transport is expected to take place at the first week of March. And, as Nucleonics Week quotes Bonn officials, "BFV has concluded that "autonomous groups" (...) are gearing up to cause still greater damage and expense for the pending shipment of spent fuel from Neckarwestheim and two other reactors."

Source: Nucleonics Week, 2 January 1997 and some personal recollections
Contact: Buergerinitiative Umweltschutz Luechow Dannenberg, Drahwehner Str. 2, 29439 Luechow, Germany;
Tel: +49-58414684
Fax: +49-5841-3197