Arrested for library access

A while ago, on August 1st, scientist Andrej H. has been arrested. His subject is political science, his research topic is urbanization. According to his former Ph.D advisor, Andrej H. calls himself a marxist. The Public Attorney’s Office calls him a terrorist. In the warrant, this claim is based on rather interesting reasoning.

Aparently, Andrej H. has met with a person that has been recently arrested for arson on a military truck. No casualties, just lots of damage.
That person seems to be a member of what is called “militante gruppe” or “mg“, a group of pathetic left-wing hobby “terrorists” that cause more (brain-)damage by the intellectual blabla that they print on pamphlets than the arson attacks and threat letters they send around.

And since some time, there is a chain of arson attacks on premium vehicles in Berlin. Understandably, the political pressure to stop these arson attacks is quite high at the moment, as burned-out luxury cars in a touristic neighborhood don’t look so nice on postcards and as the owners and their insurance companies aren’t very happy about this either.
The car burnings happen often in neighborhoods such as Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain that were formerly cheap and occupied by an urban Bohéme after the Berlin wall came down and are now being nicely renovated and sold piece-by-piece to wealthy individuals that want to breathe the air of the authentic. And can afford to buy appartments. And luxury cars.

This process is called Gentrification in the social science research of Andrej H. And here, as Bill says: “the plot thickens”…

The Public Attorney’s Office reasons as follows:

  • Andrej H. has met a known member of “mg”. Thus they are both members of “mg”.
  • Andrej H.’s research is on urbanization. In one of his papers, dated from 1998, he uses the same wording (including the suspicious Gentrification) as are used in the pamphlets of “mg”. Thus he must be a member.
  • As a research scientist, he has access to a library where he can do research for “mg”.
  • As a research scientist, he has the intellectual and factual abilities to write the complicated pamphlets of “mg”.

This scared me a bit. How do I do in this respect?

  • As a research scientist, I have access to a library.
  • As a research scientist, I should have some intellectual abilities.
  • Most of my publications are online. I hope no pamphleteer reads those and uses the word “wearable computing” or “RFID”. Or “Gentrification” as in this blog post…
  • OK, I’m safe: I haven’t met anyone of the “mg”. And now I’m writing a blog post on somebody that is a member? Oops!

To avoid misunderstandings here: I am not promoting any left-wing propaganda, especially none of the brain-confusing leftish bla-bla that the “mg” is so famous for. If Andrej H. would be a potential right-wing or islamic terrorist, my reasons would still apply.

What I don’t like in this procedure is that one can base a german arrest warrant on facts that apply to millions of researchers on the planet. Yes, I can go to a library and I am not completely stupid. I may meet and talk to all kinds of people, I hear their arguments and I claim that I can think for myself. Does that make me a terror suspect? I don’t think so.

Similar “reasoning” could be applied with the recently passed new law (StGB 303b) on “hacking“, which threatens all computer security researchers that write software that could be used for criminal purposes. Mixed with the terrorist paragraph 129a StGB that has also been used in the case of Andrej H., this threatens all members of organizations that work on IT security. Maybe I should cancel my membership in IEEE and GI

Currently, I’m reading a book called “What terrorists want” by Louise Richardson. (German version) Richardson claims that the three personal reasons for terrorists are Revenge, Fame and Response. The case of Andrej H. and the group of “mg” members could in a twisted way be a reason for “Revenge” against a state that seems to be using very weak reasoning for prosecuting intellectuals. With the actions of the Public Attorney’s Office, the “Fame” point clearly goes to “mg” and so does the “Response” point. This blog post is obviously and unfortunately a part of all this.

On August 24th, the warrant of Andrej H. will be reviewed. If there’s real and factual evidence against him, keep him locked up and put him to trial. If there isn’t anything but him having access to a library, let him go.

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2 Responses to Arrested for library access

  1. kenn-blog says:

    A little update from Süddeutsche Zeitung as of today:,tt5m5/deutschland/artikel/243/129026/

    Aparently, the meeting between Andrej H. and the member of “mg” was considered conspirative because of their mysterious behavior and the fact that they left their cellphones at home. No further comment…

  2. kenn-blog says:

    A little update on this story. According to the RBB news of tonight, Andrej H. has been released. He is still charged and we’ll see if this ever makes it to court.

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