Sunday, March 31, 2019

IRB Malaysia confirms analysis by Sahathevan's Realpolitikasia of Najib's tax liability: The "donation" is taxable

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Image result for najib tax

The IRB decided to review the tax treatment of the donation in June 
last ,after the change in government.

The Edge has reported this morning:
 The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has slapped Datuk Seri Najib Razak with an extra tax bill of around RM1.5 billion for 2011-2017.
Based on its investigations, the IRB has assessed that Najib had not declared taxable income of close to RM4 billion for the period. Sources say the amount included the infamous RM2.6 billion that Malaysian and the US investigators say originated from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Inland Revenue Board's assessment confirms the analysis below by this writer published more than three  years ago on this blog  of the taxes payable on Najib's Saudi "donation" ,accepting that he honestly believed that it was a donation.

See also

Sunday, November 8, 2015

On the matter of the RM 2.6 billion donation to PM Najib: A tax bill of RM 650 million plus interest is payable,contrary to denials

by Ganesh Sahathevan

PM Najib may be liable for a tax bill of RM million on that "donation" of RM 2.6 billion  he himself has said he holds on trust. The liability arises out of the very fact that he is, by his own words, the sole trustee.

Malaysian tax law makes trustees liable for trust income at the highest individual tax rate of 25% and while the issue of Najib's personal liability has been rubbished by various parties, none have said anything about his liability as trustee.  Given the amount received totals approximately RM 2.6 billion, tax at a rate of 25% gives rise to a liability RM 650 million in the year it was received. Given the delay in declaring that income, interest , and possibly penalties would normally  be added.

This writer anticipates that there will be counter-arguments about the the nature of the payment being a donation , not income, but those are not likely to help Najib avoid liability.
First, as  has been previously reported on this blog  the RM 2.6 billion donation was not described by the payer as a donation (see below).This has not been since refuted , but regardless of how Najib describes the payment, he is liable , and  it is by his own words that the liability arises. It was he and his office who said the he held that money on trust.The purpose and objectives of the trust  are not relevant to the calculation of that liability.
Then, even if one accepts that it was a donation, that may  not make Najib as a trustee tax exempt.
Donation or not, he received the money on trust in the course of his work as a political leader.
As to whether a trust exist, let us not waste time on rubbish arguments about a trust needing to be "registered" , or "verified" or being "authentic" .Those issues have already been addressed by the very laws that Najib oversees as Prime Minister and Finance Minister.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

On the matter of the US$ 681 million donation to Prime Minister Najib Razak: Sender did not describe payment as a donation

by Ganesh Sahathevan
The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that  someone has sent him a donation of US$ 681 million, via Wells Fargo Bank of New York, using a BVI company (since liquidated) called Tanore Finance. That company was a client of Falcon Private Bank Of Singapore, which was the ordering institution for that wire transfer.

The Wall Street Journal which broke the story of that massive "donation" hasplaced on-line the relevant documents.

Readers are referred to pages 2 and 3 of the documents,and to the items marked70-Remittance Information.
Curiously the transfers  (the sum total was paid in two amounts)  are  described as  "Payment" and not " Donation".
This is not a matter of mere semantics.In these days of heightened controls on the transfer of funds, given the fear of terrorist financing, descriptions are important , even for very small sums. In this case where that large amount of money was being transferred to an individual the description becomes even more important.

Readers may also be interested in item 71A Details o Charges
 "SHA" means charges are shared and it is again curious that such a generous donor would want the recipient to share in the charges for the transfer.
A PDF copy of the documents may be sighted at :


Royal Dutch Shell is Brunei, Brunei is Shell: George Clooney and friends should attack Shell's worldwide business,not a small chain of hotels to protest Brunei's LGBTQI death penalties

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Image result for Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd’

CNN has reported that Hollywood actor and human rights activist George Clooney has called for a boycott of some of the Kingdom of Brunei's minor assets to protest that country's LGBTQI laws:

Film star George Clooney has called for a boycott of nine hotels because of their links to Brunei, where homosexual acts will from next week be punishable by death.
In an opinion piece written for Deadline, Clooney decried Brunei's announcement that from April 3 the country will stone or whip to death citizens caught committing adultery or having gay sex.
"Let that sink in. In the onslaught of news where we see the world backsliding into authoritarianism this stands alone," Clooney said.He called for the public to join him in immediately boycotting nine hotels -- three in the UK, two in the US, two in France and two in Italy.
They include the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air in Los Angeles, the Dorchester in London and Le Meurice in Paris.
Clooney said the Brunei Investment Agency owns the hotels, which he described as some of the "most exclusive" in the world. He even admitted he had stayed in some, until he found out who owned them.
"Every single time we stay at, or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery," he said.

Clooney has since been joined by Elton John. However, it does seem as if both men are making a bit of harmless noise for the sake of some publicity. Brunei's hotels are a very small part of the economy, which is driven by oil and gas revenues generated primarily by Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) state clearly on their website:

......... BSP remains as the backbone of Brunei’s economy until today. It contributes around 90 percent to Brunei’s oil and gas revenues, which in turn accounts for over half of the country’s GDP and 90 percent of total export earnings. 

Clooney and friends would know this; why they have not targeted Shell's worldwide operations is curious.

Image result for clooney brunei

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Assisted by DFAT,Australian lawyers take aim at Mahathir,while seeking new markets in Malaysia

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The photograph above was taken in mid-to late January 2019 .Law Council of Australia President, Arthur Moses SC, travelled to Malaysia and Hong Kong for his first official engagements to open the legal year.In Kuala Lumpur Mr Moses  was "invited to give an address at the Australian High Commission, attended by members of Malaysia’s judiciary, including Chief Justice Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Richard Malanjum, members of the Malaysian Bar Association, and High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski AM."
In his speech Mr Moses decided to re-visit the 1988 dismissal of then Chief Justice Tun Salleh Abbas:He said:
  It has been 30 years since the 1988 Judicial Crisis, which saw the Lord President of the Supreme Court of Malaysia, Tun Salleh Abas, dismissed for “judicial misbehaviour”. His crime – speaking out publicly in defence of the judiciary. The crisis saw two other Supreme Court Judges also removed from the bench. Two decades on, in 2008, an Eminent Persons Panel convened on the initiative of the Malaysian Bar found all three had been improperly removed from office, and that Prime Minister Mahathir’s involvement in the crisis had been "unmistakably a direct unabashed attack on the rule of law with intent to subdue, if not subvert, the independence of the judiciary". Though what happened in 1988 was unacceptable, it has steeled Malaysia’s legal fraternity with an unrivalled strength and determination.

This direct attack on Mahathir is intriguing, given that he has been recently re-elected prime minister (despite it seems the disapproval of Mr Moses, the Australian Government, and the Australian legal fraternity), and given that over the the past 31 years much has been said by the key players in that incident, including the formerAttorney General Abu Talib Othman  who in January 2018 is reported to have said:
“However, he (Mahathir) was acting on the command of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agung Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail,” he said referring to the former Sultan of Johor.
Abu Talib said that he had seen the note – written and signed by the King – that was given to the PM commanding him to remove Salleh as Lord President and to replace Salleh with Abdul Hamid Omar.
“I went to see the PM and told him that neither he nor the King can remove a sitting Lord President, as that was against the constitution.
“It was a very challenging moment as the PM then asked, ‘can you ignore the command of the King?’. However, I advised and reminded him of the oath of office he took as PM to protect and defend the constitution,” he said.
Abu Talib said that Mahathir advised him to inform the King personally and he did that, going to Johor for the meeting.
“The King insisted that action be taken, despite me saying that neither him nor the PM could remove a sitting Lord President.
“He (the King) instead suggested that it be done in accordance with the constitution. So, I went back to the PM, and informed that any action taken must be done in compliance with the constitution......”
It is important to recall that Talib Othman made these public statements in January 2018 when almost everyone believed that then PM Najib Razak would be re-elected, despite Mahathir's determined (and eventually successful) challenge to Najib  and his party's control of the Malaysian Government. Malay politics dictate that punishment must follow any show of support for the opposition against the  ruling chieftain, and Talib would have understood that. 
All this seems to have escaped DFAT and Mr Moses, who was probably in Kuala Lumpur promoting Australian legal services. The President of the NSW Law Society Ms Elizabeth Espinosa was also present at that event at the Australian High Commission (see photo above).

As this writer has noted before, DFAT has not hidden its preference for Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. Nevertheless, promoting a trade mission based on that sentiment does not 
seem a winning strategy.


See also 

Diplomatic incident brewing: Mahathir declares Raja Petra a liar,AG NSW and his department insist that RPK is a credible source of information about Mahathir

Readers of this blog and its related Realpolitikasia blog will recall that a Department Of Justice NSW,Australia, document considers this article to be credible:

Ganesh Sahathevan, RPK, Clare Brown, Ginny Stein and the blood money trail.
The story by one Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen states that all the above named and others at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation were paid by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad millions of dollars to fabricate stories about the 1MDB theft by former PM Najib Razak.

The Thirdforce website is co-hosted on the Malaysia-Today website, which is published by one Raja Petra Kamaruddin who is known as RPK.RPK published the above story on his own website.

Last Friday PM Mahathir told reporters in Malaysia:
“Raja Petra Kamarudin is a liar and you still believe him......”

The  Department Of Justice NSW, and its Minister, the Attorney General NSW Mark Speakman SC  have refused to retract their reliance on the Malaysia-Today/Thirdforce article, despite the obviously false claims in the article, which also claims that Mahathir's payments to the ABC are part of a conspiracy which involves Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld, George Soros and he.

Mahathir calling RPK a liar sets the Department,its minister the AG NSW,and the Federal Government on a diplomatic collision course with the Malaysian Government.
Not a bad effort for a state government department whose minister is MP for a constituency better known for its surf.


Bizarre blog claims used to deny man right to practise law

Mahathir flags frostier Australia-Malaysia relations

Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister. Picture: Sanjit Das.
Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister. Picture: Sanjit Das.

Australia’s famously prickly relationship with former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad might not be less tempestuous a second time around with the 92-year-old now seeking re-election as the opposition candidate, and flagging concerns over Canberra’s “Pacific solution” for asylum-seekers and warning “I am not a nice person”.
Only weeks from a likely election battle, Dr Mahathir conceded bilateral relations with Australia are better under current Prime Minister Najib Razak — whose scandal-plagued government is accused of trying to secure re-election through unfair boundary ­realignments and voter incentives — than they were during his 22 years as leader.
Dr Mahathir, who frequently sparred with Australian journalists and was memorably branded a “recalcitrant” by Paul Keating for boycotting the 1993 APEC summit because he favoured an ­exclusively Asian caucus, said ­Malaysia would continue to enjoy good relations with Australia if he was re-elected leader.


But, he said: “It would depend on the situation. I don’t like the way some new immigrants are being treated, the way some boatpeople are being sent to the Pacific Islands, kept there and actually imprisoned there.
“Does it mean I should not say it? I would speak the truth. I don’t try to win support by being very nice. I am not a nice person,” he said with a smile.
On the question of Australia joining ASEAN, which arose ­before last weekend’s Sydney summit when Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would welcome their membership, Dr Mahathir, 92, said that while “geographically” it made sense for Australia to join the 10-nation group it might not be a good cultural fit. “In terms of sentiment, culture, there is a need to understand East Asian culture on the part of Australia. Some Australian leaders are quite insensitive.”
Dr Mahathir quit Malaysia’s ruling UMNO party in 2016 after speaking out over the alleged misappropriation of more than $US4.5 billion from 1MDB, a state development fund chaired by Mr Najib that the US Department of Justice has described as the worst case of kleptocracy it has seen.
In January he announced a previously inconceivable alliance with the opposition coalition led by his one-time deputy and political nemesis Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a second prison term on politically motivated sodomy charges and is due to be released in June. Both men have said the ­alliance was driven by an urgent need to topple Mr Najib and UMNO, the party that has formed every Malaysian government since 1957.
Under the partnership, Dr Mahathir will stand as prime ministerial candidate for the opposition Pakatan Harapan and if elected, seek a royal pardon for Dr Anwar on his release so that he may take over the premiership.
“I will not be a passive seat warmer,’’ he said. “The reason why they (opposition) chose me is because of my past ­experience. I know what to do in the first 100 days of becoming prime minister. I have to democratise the country again. I have to limit the powers of the prime minister’s ­office, restore the rule of law.
“All these things I can do in a short time. The big problem comes with the money (Najib) has borrowed, money the country can never repay. The central bank says the debt is more than 800 billion ringgit ($264bn). That will be ­difficult to tackle but I know where some of the money is.”
While his promises to restore democracy have raised some eyebrows in Malaysia, including among opposition politicians jailed for civil dissent during his premiership, Dr Mahathir insisted yesterday: “I am not a dictator.
“When I was in government I did not exercise the kinds of ­powers that Najib does. He does not respect the rule of law at all or the constitution,’’ he said.

Amanda Hodge is The Australian’s South East Asia correspondent. Based in Jakarta, she has covered war, refugees, terror attacks, natural disasters and social and political upheaval from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka... 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Al-Jazeera's Pauline Hanson "hit": Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood were simply ensuring that Australia remains fertile ground for jihadi financing

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at a summit in Riyadh on 11 November 2015
Why Qatar is the focus of terrorism claims

The One Nation and Pauline Hanson exposes by Al-Jazeera are highly unusual given the resources that Al-Jazeera,  which is funded  by the Government of Qatar, has devoted to the project.
Freelancers (and this writer speaks from experience) are not normally blessed with big budgets for three year projects.  Additionally, the Middle East's oil billionaires are not in the habit of throwing money at others;a good commercial return on investment is demanded (not merely expected).

Once viewed in a business context the Al-Jazeera hit begins to make sense: Pauline Hanson and her One Nation have consistently spoken against Islam and Islamism and this can have a detrimental effect on donations for "widows and orphans", of  manpower, and supp all the other resources that passive supporters of terrorism can provide.

Australia has long been a reliable source of passive support, and hence it pays for Qatar to undermine Hanson and One Nation. As one can see from the story below, passive support is pervasive and is probably the largest and most reliable source of jihadi funding/


See Also



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Wesfarmer's Lynas takeover: Betting on Mahathir's demise, and a Anwar Ibrahim-Najib Razak Lynas friendly government.

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Mr Anwar Ibrahim (left), who was pardoned and released from his five-year jail term for sodomy on May 16, said he had received two calls from ousted former premier Najib Razak on the night of the election.

Mr Anwar Ibrahim (left), who was pardoned and released from his five-year jail term for sodomy on May 16, said he had received two calls from ousted former premier Najib Razak on the night of the election.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

Much has been said about the sovereign risks attached to Lynas Ltd's business operations in Malaysia, which Wesfarmers Ltd seems happy to assume as part of its proposed acquisition of Lynas.

Lynas was on safer ground when Malaysia was still ruled by former PM Najib Razak.The election of Mahathit Mohamad as prime minister has introduced uncertainty; even though Mahathir himself is said to be supportive of Lynas' business in Malaysia, the election in May last year has brought
into power a number of parties who have consistently opposed Lynas' in Malaysia.

At 94 Mahathir's demise due to death or ill health is highly probable, and if as many in Australia expect the so-called Prime Minister in waiting Anwar Ibrahim replaces him, Wesfamers may well be then subject to a more friendly regulatory regime in Malaysia due to two reasons.

First, Anwar is expected to form an alliance with Najib to secure his position as prime minister, and secure a succession that would favour his family. Second;Anwar is considered a friend of Australia ,while Mahathir is not;and in that context can be expected to do what he can to ensure that Australian interests in Malaysia are protected. An ageing Anwar is fast running out of of friends overseas,and can be expected to do what  he can to keep those he has.

Therefore, Wesfarmers may well be betting t on Mahathir's death; buying low  now when Lynas remains under a cloud;and expecting that the value  of its investment will rise rapidly once Mahathir is gone,and Lynas is returned to the position it was in when Najib was prime minister. Lynas' operations are located in the State of Pahang,which remains a Najib stronghold.

Monday, March 25, 2019

DFAT's go-to lawyer in Malaysia charged with money laundering in Malaysia,but is he in breach of Australian money laundering laws,even as he conducts "official" business in Sydney?

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Australian spectators wearing swimwear bearing the Malaysian flag party during the Malaysian Grand Prix
DFAT's go-to lawyer in Malaysia charged with money laundering:Shafee Abdullah's 1MDB related charges add to Australian Government 's 1MDB embarrassment.

Australia's money laundering regime has a wide reach,and may have extra-territorial effect. DFAT's go-to lawyer in Malaysia, Shafee Abdullah has been charged with money laundering in Malaysia and continues representing his client, the former Malaysian PM Najib Razak. 

He has since the beginning of this year sought a number of adjournments in matters before Malaysia's courts in order to come to Sydney, to handle criminal hearings,and to attend to an "official engagement".

Najib is of course accused of presiding over the largest ever case of kleptocracy anywhere in the world.The Australian Federal Police is reported by the SMH  to have " significant intelligence implicating Malaysian Prime Minister Razak in corruption"

DFAT and its minister, Senator Marise Payne seem unconcerned by any of the above.

Lunch with Sumiko was all about Singapore's water security: Daddy Anwar may understand it, but Nurul seemed oblivious

by Ganesh Sahathevan

So, here again is Singapore indulging in some strategic Mahathir bashing, this time with useful idiot Nurul Izzah Anwar:

Singapore is simply doing what it must to defend and promote its national interest, but Nurul Izzah Anwar seems clueless as to which side she is on.Mahathir has always been harder on Singapore than any other leader in all negotiations, including water,as he should be.It is in Singapore's interest to undermine him.


See also

Singapore ,1 MDB,a change of leadership & the water agreements:Singapore may even have to take blame for the impact of climate change on Malaysia's catchments

The West eradicated white terrorists in the 70s, 80s, with conventional law enforcement methods ,but refuses to do the same with jihadis

by Ganesh Sahathevan


Armed Proletarian Nuclei19741978
Armed Revolutionary Nuclei19771988
New Order19531978
October 22 Circle19691971
Partisan Action Groups19691972
Prima Linea19761983
Red Brigades19701984
Red Brigades Fighting Communist Party19811988
Red Brigades Guerrilla Party19811982
Red Brigades Walter Alasia19801983
As one can see, the Italians have had no trouble dismantling terrorist groups.

Since it is not about religion, and since the "experts" and our "leaders" believe that the "vast majority " of Muslims would have nothing to  do with the small minority of a minority from a "counter culturalsubculture", why are we not following the lead of the West German police , indeed other European agencies, who battled and defeated lone wolves like the Baader-Meinhof Gang? Anyone old enough to read the newspapers or watch TV in the 70s , 80s will recall how law enforcement agencies in Western countries were quite ruthless in their pursuit of the terrorist gangs of the time;and may wonder why the same dedication and professionalism is not evident in the pursuit of jihadis.
The paper below describes how it was done.

West German Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis and Reaction to the Red Army Faction

by John Catherine

Journal Article | March 1, 2013 - 3:30am
The West German student movement of the late 1960’s sought to address perceived injustices found in West German society. Many of these demonstrations often resulted in clashes between students and the police. On June 2nd 1967, a state visit by the Shah of Iran to West Berlin sparked particularly turbulent protests against the Shah by various left leaning German student movements. When some of the Shah’s secret police clashed with German students, the demonstration erupted into chaos, resulting in the police shooting of Beno Ohnesorg.  Ohnesorg’s death was the impetus for the formation of one of Europe’s most dreaded terrorist organizations. Initially they were referred to as the Baader-Meinhof Gang and eventually more officially known as the Red Army Faction (RAF). This band of international terrorists would operate throughout the world for a little over two decades. Operations carried out by the RAF inspired leftists in other countries to form similar terror organizations engaging in crimes such as kidnappings, bank robberies, assassinations, and bombings based on a political agenda. This article discusses some of the evolving methods and tactics used by West German law enforcement by utilizing combinations of intelligence analysis and Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection while simultaneously engaging and disrupting RAF operations during the initial stages of their terror campaign in the 1970’s. The flexibility and detailed analysis exhibited by West German law enforcement enabled police to mitigate the overall effectiveness of the RAF.
West German law enforcement and intelligence communities were forced to adapt and respond to a politically motivated form of crime. By 1972, the three founding members of the RAF, Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, and Gundrun Ennslin were in prison and awaiting trial. Their arrests were the result of a combination of dogged police and intelligence work carried out by West German law enforcement and domestic intelligence services. Leading the effort were Horst Herold and Alfred Klaus of theBundeskrimminalamt (BKA). Herold was ultimately responsible for bringing computer analysis and intelligence sharing to the forefront of counter-terrorism and law enforcement operations. Klaus was responsible for providing law enforcement with in-depth intelligence analysis of individual RAF members. These profiles focused on their political philosophy, education, writings, and childhood up-bringing.    
The BKA, HUMINT and the Investigators
The RAF situation in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was truly a unique kind of criminal activity for law enforcement. After a successful raid freeing Baader from imprisonment; BaaderMeinhof, and Ensslin and others traveled to Jordan to receive military style training from the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Each RAF member was provided with a passport from the United Arab Republic for their journey to Jordan. While at the PFLP terror training facility, Baader and Ensslin became confrontational with the PFLP leadership over the type of training being conducted. Engaged in an infantry style of combat training, due to the ongoing struggle with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the PFLP leadership was unwilling to alter their training regimen based on demands made by Baader and Ensslin. Baader insisted that the RAF were in need of an urban warfare type of training as the RAF was an urban guerilla movement. Eventually the group was expelled and forced to return to Western Europe through East Germany.[1] Once back in West Germany, the group made arrangements to begin the armed struggle to “expose” what they believed was a fascist state hidden within the West German government.[2] Using her numerous contacts with left-wing political sympathizers, Ulrike Meinhofcoordinated a series of safe houses for the RAF while in West Berlin. After conducting a string of successful RAF bank robberies, the frustrated Berlin Police seized on an opportunity when they received an anonymous tip on an RAF meeting.
The police and intelligence officials in the RAF case did not have access to surveillance technology that intercepts telephone traffic or uses computer software that can keyword search conversations that reveal possible terrorist conversations, locations, and plans. The West German law enforcement community relied heavily on HUMINT in order to take advantage of any opportunity presented by their human sources. Berlin Police detective Kotsch’s intuitive decision to act on this tip—the first bit of real actionable intelligence they received—ultimately resulted in the first victory over the seemingly evasive RAF.
Kotsch received a telephone call from an individual identifying himself only as Mueller. Mueller provided Kotsch with information about a meeting between members of the RAF in a West Berlin apartment and gave Kotsch license plate numbers, two addresses, meeting times, and then abruptly hung up.[3] It is critical to note that Mueller advised Kotsh that previous attempts were made to provide similar information to other police officials and that his information had gone ignored. Cooperative intelligence is usually provided by defectors like Mueller. Unlike the other law enforcement officials that did not think Mueller’s information credible, Kotsch must have recognized that Mueller’s information was something that only a defector would be able to provide.  Kotsch dispatched several detectives to stakeout the location of the meeting. This proved to be a watershed moment for the war with the RAF; Mueller’s information was accurate and the stakeout proved to be fruitful. The conclusion of the operation saw several key RAF figures in police custody along with weapons, explosives, and key documents.
Detective Kotsch’s decision to act resulted in the first success of West German counter-terrorism and provided further information to be exploited. Captured documents revealed the group’s financial status and established that Gundrun Ensslin was the group’s chief financial officer.[4] Among those arrested was an RAF attorney by the name of Horst Mahler. Mahler’s membership in the RAF gave police insight into the kind of role left-wing activist attorneys would play later as the investigation wore on. For example, their role in smuggling weapons and communications between incarcerated RAF members were some examples of how the attorney client privilege could be abused.[5]
Exploring the Culture of Terrorist Groups
During the early stages of the RAF crisis, the BKA assembled the Bonn Security Group. BKA investigator Alfred Klaus was reassigned from another BKA detail to oversee this new investigative body. Once reassigned, Klaus began his investigation of the RAF with an extensive examination of the entire philosophy of the RAF. Klaus studied Marx, Mao, and numerous RAF publications like The Urban Guerilla Concept authored by Ulrike Meinhof. He would read and reread news stories and magazine articles that focused on the group’s activities and crimes.[6] Like Klaus, the West German internal intelligence service, Bundesamt fuer Vassungsschutz (BfV), also studied the culture of the radical left. BfV investigators made extensive use of open source intelligence collection by examining the speeches, theses, and brochures of prominent leftist leaders, students, and political agitators.[7] Ulrich Wegener, the founder and first commanding officer of the GSG 9, also analyzed terrorism from this target centric perspective. Wegener studied theories on guerilla warfare, political motives, methods of operation, strategies, and tactics.[8]
Adopting this target centric approach, Klaus, Wegener, and the BfV investigators assisted in establishing an accurate model of the RAF culture, individual members, and their supporters. This form of analysis and profiling permits police to narrow their field of focus.[9] While West German agencies used a high degree of professionalism in their investigation of their adversary, BKA investigator Klaus took his research to an entirely different level using determination and his interpersonal skills to advance his investigation. Most notably, Klaus was gifted with a personality that people generally found charming, disarming, and magnetic.  Klaus used this, as well as his determination, as he went out and visited the families and associates of known RAF members. By doing so, he was able to conduct an assessment of individual RAF members and associates. For example, Klaus interviewed Gundrun Ensslin’s parents and is reported to have had wine with Andreas Baader’s mother while discussing Andreas’s childhood. Interestingly, Klaus made it a point to never ask the family members to turn in the RAF member; he would only ask that if they did come into contact with the RAF member that they ask the member to stop committing these violent acts. Klaus’s efforts allowed him to skillfully develop individual personality profiles of each known RAF member by innocuously eliciting information from family members and associates. Klaus’s studies convinced him that the RAF was not just a bunch of criminals committing random acts of violence for some obscure ideology.[10] Instead, Klaus’ innovative intelligence collection approach allowed him to establish a solid understanding of the personalities, psychology, and culture within the RAF which he assembled in a sixty page analytical report. Klaus also traveled to the various police precincts around West Germany to give lectures on the personalities, political motives, intentions, and political philosophy of the RAF. Klaus’s intelligence collection, analysis, writings, and presentations covering the RAF helped overcome some biases that existed within German law enforcement with respect to the RAF.[11] Klaus was able to understand and circulate the view that the objectives of the RAF were forms of political actions and not an ordinary crime spree as many in the West German law enforcement community had suspected.
Some in the law enforcement community were shocked at what appeared to be Klaus’s admiration of the RAF. Fellow police officers were stunned when Klaus remarked that he was impressed at the planning and thought that went into some of the RAF operations.[12] Klaus’s analysis of the RAF helped to limit any bias traps or analytical vulnerabilities that he may have developed as a long standing BKA investigator.[13] These analytical efforts were clearly designed to give law enforcement an advantage in addition to addressing the principles of counter-deception.
Horst Herold, the BKA, and Computer Analysis
When Horst Herold took over the BKA in 1971, it was a relatively small federal institution with little law enforcement authority. When Herold left the agency, it had doubled in size and had become one of the Federal German Republic’s best weapons against crime and terrorism. Herold is probably best known for his development of criminal computer analysis within West German law enforcement. The system that he developed has been compared to the internet for German law enforcement. His idea ultimately used a combination of the target centric analytical approach and computer analysis against the RAF. [14]Herold believed that how he approached the RAF problem and used the potential advantage gained by his use of technology helped law enforcement to focus limited resources on the RAF and gain an advantage.
The fight against terrorism, in Herold’s view, was somewhere between military operations and a political policy struggle.[15] He clearly shared the views of Klaus in that both men believed that the conflict between the German state and the RAF was political. Herold considered the possibility that terrorism at the time may have been the result of the situation as it existed between the eastern and western spheres of political influence. Herold surmised that the type of terrorism promulgated by the RAF must be destroyed at its origins and this required that the police respond independently with accurate and reliable intelligence.[16] As such, computer analysis, access to intelligence, and communications among a decentralized police community like West Germany’s were essential in defeating the RAF.
Herold’s computer system, used by a highly dispersed police force among the independent states and districts throughout West Germany, enabled intelligence to pass throughout the entire West German law enforcement community. Ensuring that BKA agents, police officers, and detectives in the field had timely access to the intelligence that they all needed gave the police the advantage over the terrorists. Researcher David Gugerli notes that Herold’s computer system eventually contained all the information that had been assembled by the German police. Herold further strengthened the BKA position by providing open channels of communication between local police and detectives in the field so they could collect and analyze information rapidly, while keeping the BKA informed.[17]
Information from police reports and documents were transcribed into the BKA database.  This system was designed so that the search engine could assemble information based on statistical patterns based on the description of the criminal being sought. This enabled law enforcement managers and supervisors to effectively deploy their resources.   Every police station in West Germany was connected to the new BKA computer system, with some 800 computer work stations in total available to police. The system contained thousands of names of known RAF associates, suspect organizations, millions of fingerprints, and photographs. Detectives found that the system offered them easy and quick access to some fundamental law enforcement information. In the 1970’s, this was the state of the art technical surveillance system.[18] Herold would use his computer system to coordinate his RAF dragnet across West Germany using computerized profiles of potential terrorists and supporters.[19]
Movement around West Germany became increasingly difficult for the RAF because of Herold’s police computer system. The RAF developed an elaborate and deceptive counter measure designed to evade police check points and traffic stops. One of these methods was known as “the doubles game.” In “the doubles game,” a particular make, color, and year of vehicle was stolen. RAF members then made efforts to find an innocent civilian who operated the same make, model and color car. Once a person was found and identified, duplicate license plates were manufactured along with identification documents that were made from stolen blank driver’s licenses and identity documents. In the event of a police road block or traffic stop, all of the corresponding identification and vehicle information appeared legitimate. In order to assist police in countering “the doubles game,” Herold hoped to enlist the help of the nation’s gas station employees. BKA flyers were circulated to gas stations around West Germany requesting that they look for individuals exhibiting suspicious behavior or individuals with hair that appeared to have been dyed and report it to police.[20] Even in the dawning age of sophisticated computerization, the BKA had to resort to public reporting.
The detailed research conducted by the West German law enforcement community forced the RAF to burro further underground, thus limiting their effectiveness. The RAF was able to cross the border into East Germany with the help of the East German security services in order to receive additional training and get some rest. This placed West German intelligence and security services at a great disadvantage.[21]
The focus on the background of individual terrorists, their philosophy, and the RAF’s organizational culture assisted West German law enforcement to effectively engage the RAF thus diminishing their overall effectiveness. Dieter Munzinger’s account of the GSG 9’s operations during their pursuit of Christian Klar provides insight into how effective West German police intelligence was becoming. Munzinger claims that the GSG 9 and BKA were often arriving at identified RAF safe houses only moments after Klar was believed to have abandoned it. By maintaining pressure on the terrorist Klar, West German police limited his ability provide leadership and to coordinate terrorist attacks until his eventual arrest outside of Aumuele, Germany at an RAF weapons cache. The BKA learned this information from HUMINT sources.[22]
The introduction of computer technology in conjunction with HUMINT management and group cultural study were paramount in assisting the West German authorities in defeating the RAF. The study and understanding of the culture of any group must not be underestimated. This is how we come to understand the intentions of an enemy or competitor. HUMINT played a major role in this type of investigation and contributed significantly to the eventual dismantling of the RAF. Once the information was synthesized into intelligence, it was then disseminated to those operating on a national level thus assisting in making their investigations successful.  

[1] Tom Vague (1994). Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction Story 1963-1993. AK Press. Edinburgh, UK. Pp.20-24. 
[2] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. Pp. 72-73
[3] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. Pp. 81-84.
[4] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. P 83.
[5] Tom Vague (1994). Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction Story 1963-1993. AK Press. Edinburgh, UK. P. 96.
[6] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. Pp.101-102.
[7] J. Smith & Andre Moncourt (2009). The Red Army Faction: A Docuemntary History, Volume 1: Projectiles for the People. PM Press, Oakland, CA.  P.116
[8] Rolf Tophoven (1985). GSG 9: The German Response to Terrorism.  Bernard & Graefe Verlag. Oldenburg, Germany. P. 18
[9] John O. Koehler (1999). Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police. West View Press. Boulder Colorado. P. 399.
[10] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. Pp. 103-104.
[11] Roger Z. George and James B. Bruce (Editors)(2001).  Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations.  George Washington University Press. Washington DC. P.127-130.
[12] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. Pp. 103.
[13] Roger Z. George and James B. Bruce (Editors)(2001).  Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations.  George Washington University Press. Washington DC. P.127-130.
[14] David Gugerli (2009). “Search Engines: The World as a Database.” [accessed June 10, 2012].
[15] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. P. 138.
[16] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. P. 140.
[17] Stefan Aust (Trans. Anthea Bell) (2008). Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the RAF. Oxford University Press, UK. P. 140.
[18] J. Smith & Andre Moncourt (2009). The Red Army Faction: A Documentary History, Volume 1: Projectiles for the People. PM Press, Oakland, CA. P.116.
[19] John O. Koehler (1999). Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police. West View Press. Boulder Colorado. P. 399.
[20] J. Smith & Andre Moncourt (2009). The Red Army Faction: A Documentary History, Volume 1: Projectiles for the People. PM Press, Oakland, CA. P. 335.
[21] John O. Koehler (1999). Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police. West View Press. Boulder Colorado. P. 399.
[22] Dieter Munzinger (Winter 2009). “Firsthand:  GSG 9 Terrorist Apprehension.” The Counter-Terrorist: Official Journal of the Homeland Security Professional. Volume 2, Number 6. Security Publications International. Miami, FLA. USA. Pp. 8-18.

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About the Author

John Catherine is curently employeed with the Department of Homeland Security. He has nearly twenty years of experience with the US Air Force Security Forces in Antiterrorism and Force Protection, Law Enforcement, Military police investigations, and Explosive Detector Dog handling. He has a Bachlor of Arts degree in Intelligence Studies and is about to complete a Master of Arts degree in Intelligence Collection from American Military University.