EIR, Nov. 29, 1976
EXCLUSIVE TO NSIPS
Nov. 27 (NSIPS) — A public court in Wiesbaden, West Germany " has fined European Labor Party Executive Committee member ~ Gabriele Dannenberg a punishing sum of 10,500 Deutschmarks ($4,000) for allegedly spreading well-documented but "adventurous distortions" about the past and present policies of Willy Brandt, former West German Chancellor and current Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Dannenberg was found "guilty on all charges," which consisted of eight assertions about Brandt's associations with the policy-making circles of the Central Intelligence Agency and Rockefeller-allied banks, assertions which Brandt claimed are slanderous and "injure his public reputation."
Brandt's attorneys lifted these assertions, usually out of context, from the Feb., 1976 issue of the European Labor Committee's International Bulletin, which is edited by Dannenberg. This issue, which contains an article entitled "Brandt: History of an Agent's Career," was confiscated by West German police shortly after its publication and has been banned from sale in the country. Even though the presiding judge, Mr. Ranft, did acknowledge the validity of every piece of documentation contained within the article, he nevertheless insisted that "not one shred of evidence" had been presented to justify the interspersed "incorrect assertions."
Even before the trial's conclusion, Judge Ranft and public prosecutor Dorbritz made it known that they intended to make the trial a "lesson" to any individual or organization who attempts to level attacks against Brandt's fundamental policies and backers. The 10,500 DM fine was deliberately not adjusted to Dannenberg's extremely low personal income of 400 DM monthly, but rather to unsubstantiated police estimates of the European Labor Committee's income.
But this potential blow against the ELP's financial capabilities is not actually a "lesson" delivered by Brandt. Much rather;it is part of Brandt's "Battle of the Bulge" against a majority of European leaders and parties who are on the verge of announcing an open break with the bankrupt dollar system and with the genocidal policies of the major U.S. manipulators of inflated dollar holdings.
As a result of the recent historic internal party shakeup in West Germany (see elsewhere in this issue), Willy Brandt has ^ been ordered by his U.S. backers to encourage a maximum of chaos within the SPD. He aims thereby to undermine Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's tightening grip on SPD policy before Schmidt openly joins with Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and British Prime Minister James Callaghan in negotiations with the Third World on the new world economic order.
His strategy consists in giving encouragement to a collection of anti-Communist, proto-fascist groupings within the SPD's nominal "left wing." Following a bloody demonstration of zero-growth environmentalists at a nuclear plant construction site in northern West Germany, Brandt announced the formation of an SPD working group to deal with how to cut down investment in nuclear capital equipment and halt the export of "dangerous" nuclear technology to other countries. An even bloodier confrontation occurred at the same site on the following weekend. Brandt also plans to push these same issues at the Nov. 26 meeting of the Second Socialist International in Geneva, Switzerland, as a means of halting any decisions on collaboration with the Third World.
Following a time-worn scenario, Brandt is attempting to stir up anti-Communist ferment through his endorsement of folk singer Wolf Biermann, an East German whose anti-Soviet songs got him kicked out of the socialist sector. Various West German newspapers are already predicting the formation of a new "movement" out of the lovers of Biermann and the haters of industrial growth.
As SPD parliamentary fraction leader Herbert Wehner has commented, however, these scenarios have little chance of
getting off the ground under the present political configuration in Europe. In fact, a key omission from the formal charges against Dannenberg proves that Brandt is clearly on the defensive. In all previous "Brandt trials," the prosecution put special weight on the ELP's description of Brandt as a "fascist." The ELP's argumentation on this point was extremely difficult to refute for two reasons.
First, Brandt's endorsement of Schachtian labor policies such as "corporatism," "investment control," and "The Swedish Way to Socialism" conform even to dictionary definitions of "fascism," and are backed up by the description in the March-April 1975 issue of Challenge, which defines corporatism as "fascism with a human face."
Second, West Germany's post-war constitution (the "Basic Law") contains numerous clauses designed to prevent a return of fascism to Germany. As a resujt, judges and prosecutors in previous cases had to resort to a variety of legal trickery and covert slander of the ELP (as itself an allegedly "fascist" organization) in order to avoid any rigorous discussion of these questions.
The charge that the term "fascist" damages Brandt's character was therefore dropped from the Dannenberg trial. Out of the ELP's basic accusations, what remained was the description of Brandt as a "CIA agent." The irony of this charge is that, in all main respects, Brandt has complained that he is accused of associations which he has not only never denied or repudiated, but which he, under other auspices, repeatedly and consistently professes as a virtuous policy. The examples of the role played by former High commissioner of Germany John J. McCloy, Sr. in launching Brandt's career, and of Brandt's publicly-professed associations with leading members of the U.S. intelligence establishment, are well known and well documented.
Nevertheless, the Wiesbaden court rejected out of hand any use of the widely-applied generic term "CIA agent" to describe policies and associations, in favor of the rigidly nominalist definition of an agent directly paid by the CIA, complete with signed receipts and cancelled checks. This rejection, of course, entirely ignores the context of the ELP's presentation, but from Brandt's standpoint it manages to skirt any constitutional issues.
As Dannenberg stated during the proceedings, the most vicious fallacy underlying the entire series of "Brandt trials" has been the assumption that the ELP's attacks are primarily aimed at, or have the primary effect of, injuring Brandt's "public reputation." Such charges, the ELP has argued, are based on feudal laws of lese majeste which take no account of the nature of modern poitical debate. On the contrary, the ELP's attacks are only aimed at him personally to the extent he embodies illegal policies or advocates illegal acts, such as mass genocide as defined under the Nuremberg Code.
Dannenberg asserted that Brandt has been using these archaic laws of lese majeste in order to deliver political counterattacks against the ELP, and definitely not because a number of scattered assertions allegedly injure his public image.
This is substantiated by reviewing the circumstances of the previous two major "Brandt trials."
In the latter half of April, 1975, the European Labor Party learned of the existence of plans by a circle of Rockefeller-allied military officials to revise NATO's present basic strategy document, named "MC 14-3," into an updated "MC 14-4." The revision was to entail immediate preparations for the fighting of a "limited" nuclear war on European territory. During the same period, the ELP was circulating leaflets and posters accusing Brandt of advocating labor policies qualifying as "Crimes Against Humanity" in the Nuremberg Code. It was under these circumstances that a contingent of police raided the ELP's main office in Wiesbaden at gunpoint, under the pretext of searching for the "slanderous" Brandt literature. The excruciating thoroughness of the police search, however, evidenced that they were actually under instructions to search for the ELC's source of the military "MC 14-4" leak.
ELC National Executive Committee members Anno Hellenbroich and Jurgen Spahn were subsequently charged with slandering Brandt, while other similar complaints began to be lodged against local ELC members in Bochum, Munich, Hannover, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Wiesbaden.
The Spahn-Hellenbroich trial was in early December, 1975, in the midst of the European Labor Party's mobilization against the first test maneuver for the revised NATO strategy, the so-called "staff maneuver" called "Hilex 75." After the proceedings had tied up much time and money, the final sentence of a 2,000 DM ($600) fine each was handed down. (The judgment is being appealed, and the second trial is scheduled for early January, 1977.)
By the time of publication of the "Brandt" issue of the International Bulletin in February, 1976, the ELP had built up a substantial base of actual and potential working-class and other supporters on the basis of a year of continuous mobilizations. When the magazine arrived from its Italian publisher at the Frankfurt Airport on Feb. 10, it was blocked for two days by customs authorities, and then handed over to the ELP. After two weeks of successful sales of the issue, the. 800-900 remaining copies were confiscated on Feb. 27 in a nationally coordinated police raid on every ELP regional office. During the period between Feb. 10 and Feb. 27, Brandt was obviously judging the political effect of the ELP's organizing with the bulletin, since his "public image" was already at an all-time low.
Since that time, Brandt's actions against the ELP and associated forces in Europe has displayed more than a tinge of desperation. A complete turnaround against him was heralded on Aug. 24, 1976, when a Bremen judge issued a restraining order against Ernst Waltemathe, a local SPD bigwig, threatening him with heavy fines if he continued to publically spread the lie that the ELP was "financed by the CIA." Since then, SPD and trade union officials have learned to tread more softly in the ELP's presence, but it seems that Brandt has learned nothing from this.
Concluding her final plea before the Wiesbaden court, Dannenberg predicted that "As a leading cadre of the Labor Party, I can assure you that in five years, after the New World Economic Order is realized, the Brandt Bulletin will be understood, in public as well as in such circles as the court, because the background of our attacks against the Atlanticists' policy will be out in the open." If the present motion against Jimmy Carter and his backers — Brandt's backers — continues in Europe, the Dannenberg trial might well be the ELP's last legal defeat at the hands of Brandt's legal lackeys.