dirty connection: former SPD leader and buddy of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Sigmar Gabriel (left) and alleged financial scam artist Carsten Maschmeyer
A personal Note by Ralph T. Niemeyer
Western free democracies always laud themselves for high moral values such as freedom of speech, civil liberties, human rights and a fair, non-political independent justice system that treats everyone equal.
Well, that’s as far as the theory is concerned. Of course it is quite a difference to be a Journalist in Saudi Arabia but there are also many cases of suppression of journalists in western free democracies. In the best case one is being ignored by mainstream media that is controlled by oligarchs or political parties.
You are free to say what you like as long as you don’t – at least not on prime time news.
In the worst case journalists get criminalised like it happend in my case or even killed under mysterious circumstances like it happend to four of my colleagues with who I investigated secret arms deals in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra Affair.
James Markham, my good friend who I looked up to ever since we had been working as correspondents in Bonn, shot himself in Paris with an airgun although he loved his family, was not sick, got promoted to become vice editor in chief of the New York Times and generally led a happy life.
Julian Sanchez, another colleague and friend from Nicaragua was found in a bathtub full of water, unbloodied but very dead. He died the same way as the german politician Uwe Barschel a year earlier in 1987 in the Beau Rivage Hotel in Geneva. We both had tried to warn Mr Barschel but came too late. I found their assassin, I believe, but when I arrived in Los Angeles to talk to that man he had died half an hour ago in a restaurant.
This shows how dangerous investigative journalism is when one is getting too close to the real power.
I consider myself lucky that I am still alive since I had several times in the past 35 years gotten attacked by right wing oligarchs and their bribed politicians.
At the height of a political scandal over financial fraud that I discovered only by an undercover operation and that had the potential to expose Gerhard Schröder in 1994 I reported it to the prosecutors.
Also in 1994, I ran as an independent candidate in the general election on the platform to fight corruption but that drew even more anger by the regime. So I got arrested without any official charge which is illegal in Germany.
I have nothing to blame myself for morally and certainly got much less dirt stuck on me than most MPs or ministers, chancellors and presidents. A personal remark at the side: I wished there was the same outcry and solidarity with regime critics and us dissidents suffering from subversive acts in the West like with let’s say „Pussy Riots“, because we have similar problems.
We investigative journalists are being given construed financial or sex affairs and by those means are being discredited and criminalized with only one goal: to silence us.
I experienced firsthand how to cope with the fusion of Financial mafia and power structures, including the corporate media: everything is turned around by a compliant judiciary and in the end you find yourself being accused.
I did my first interview in 1983 with Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, my second one with Green party icon Petra Karin Kelly.
In my youthful enthusiasm I believed in the good and that a democratic constitutional state and its actors do not engage in any crooked things.
The Barschel Affair that I have witnessed that closely that until today I am again and again asked by colleagues (last time by that tabloid of Springer media that caused the scandal) but also special investigators and members of Committees of parliamentary inquiry, as most recently 2 years ago by Mr Kalinka, on my observations.
One other scandal I investigated was that of weapons deals the Federal Government under Chancellor Kohl, who I confronted with my findings, the apartheid regime in South Africa, while at the same time dealing with India, selling construction documents for nuclear submarines, as well as chemical weapons factories of Hippenstiel-Imhausen in Rabta, Libya which George Bush later in 1989 bombed after he read my report. The Barschel Affair, to which I had long since testified, should continue to pursue me.
My research on the background and why SPD candidate Björn Engholm got under fire from his own people led me to Hannover in 1990, where I spent more than two years with the financial mafia around at that time ministerpresident Gerhard Schröder and a a scam artist, Carsten Maschmeyer who bribed Schröder by financing his election campaign in 1998 and im exchange was allowed to author the pension reform legislation that should sweep billions into his insurance schemes known as „Riester“.
At this time, a colleague, Klaus Dieter Müller, who had researched in the Neo Nazi scene of Bremen and Bremerhaven discovering a mingling of NAZI parties like DVU and a financial firm “Rothschild Hungary” had approached me and together we investigated SPD-covered financial jugglers in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as a corrupt Attorney General protected by the SPD Minister of Justice knew only one goal: to cover up at any price that the so called “High Yield Trading Programs”, i.e. high-frequency financial speculation be discovered and made public.
We’ve observed the gang according to all the rules of the arts and all the collected the evidence. But, as we had filed a criminal complaint we had to suddenly realize that the Prosecutors were part.of those structures and had only one task: to discredit anyone who claims such business existed as a conspiracy theorist.
As we ourselves as under-cover journalists had participated in those transactions in order to prove that these indeed existed, the spit was turned around and held up to us amounting to have false accusations against us instead of such lawyers, politicians, prosecutors and judges who indeed should have been charged for their criminal actions.
Since the financial crisis of 2008 when Lehman brothers collapsed it became publically known that we were right in saying that these high yield trading programs existed but in 1994 we were prosecuted for maintaining exactly that.
Another interesting twist occurred when it was revealed in the process that Klaus Dieter Müller had been an informant of the “State Office for Constitution-protection” in Bremen, a branch of the German secret service.
Certainly he was not just spying on the Neo Nazi party DVU but probably also on me. It was all a bit strange, even the fact that we were in custody with former German military secret service (MAD) – chief Admiral Schmähling.
It took 7 months and 21 days for the High Court of Cologne to declare the arrest warrant against me invalid for the reason that it did not contain a specific charge.
Unbelievable for a country like Germany one would think but it was true, and that’s why I had asked all the time to be told what I was arrested for.
Like in Julian Assange’s case there are deeper routed reasons for false accusations. It certainly also played a role that I was married to Sahra Wagenknecht, leader of the leftist party, who one could by those means put under pressure, too.