by Udo Ulfkotte
Dealing with dangerous Islamists means living dangerously. However, sometimes the danger doesn’t stem from Islamists in Germany, but rather from the German administration itself. Describing historical processes, complete with background information, is the historian’s task. The report here will help future generations to understand why Christian and Western Culture may have lost the battle against hate-filled, extremists Islamists, with their eyes wide open.
I am not important in this story. My person is interchangeable. Others have had the same experience when dealing with Islamists in Germany. They have kept silent because they have children. They have kept silent because they fear for their jobs. My readers should know that I don’t know Islamists from dusty books, but rather have observed them for over 15 years in their own countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen, Syria, The Emirates, Algeria, Jordan, Indonesia and Malysia. I met the group of Islamists around Osama bin Laden in the middle of the 1990s in the Sudan capital of Khartoum. Where the White and Blue Nile meet, they had a plot of land of about eight acres.
Bin Laden was already gone from Khartoum when I visited: some of his followers were still there. By dawn the men were already sitting together in prayer, only 100 yards from the sheds of an air-conditioned dairy farm, where the only Jewish family in Sudan produced milk. The black-and-white cows came from Friesland, the flat countryside of Northern Germany. The Al Qaeda followers were also customers. In the Western World, Al Qaeda was not an issue, no newspaper reported anything about the self-identified “holy warriors”.
I met the same holy warriors again later, in Afghanistan. They tried hard to convert me to Islam. I have had the same kind of experience at hundreds of meetings with the followers of Hamas, Hezbollah, Hisb ut-Tahrer and other groups which appear again and again in today’s headlines. All of them are convinced that their actions will lead the world to an allegedly better future. I could observe these Islamists building booby-traps and shooting their AK-47 automatic rifles at empty cans in the desert. They invited me to shoot as well, and I was always the worst shot. While they were trying to convert me to Islam, they told me of their plans. They talked about the renewal of the Caliphate. They talked about how Europe would be significantly Musilm in just a few decades. They glorified their terror. They were sure that they could destroy the culture of the “infidels”.
I remember an Islamist leader telling me in Teheren that Chancellor Helmut Kohl should better start flattering him, otherwise he would regret it later. I wrote that down and laughed internally. I did not take this man seriously. At that time I asked myself: How naive these these holy warriors could possibly be? In retrospect, the naive one was me. The Islamist leader in Teheran would later become known internationally as the leader of the terrorist group organizing bomb attacks on international troops in Iraq after the US invasion. He, and most of my acquiantances from that time, appear on the Most-Wanted-Lists in the West today.
During longer assignments in regions of crisis and war, one inevitably gets to know members of intelligence services. People talk about their experiences, exchanging information. Over the years this develops into a network: the doors of the chancellory open, the list of contacts widen to several thousand names. Documents get leaked: from intelligence services, political administrations, companies. Thousand of puzzle parts fall slowly into place to form the big picture. All of a sudden this was of public interest after 9/11. In the months that followed, I summarized what I knew in newspaper articles and books, and now teach security management and defense against terror at a University in Northern Germany.
Many respectable civil servants have given me unsolicited information, talking to me after lectures. Ministers on both the state and federal level invited me for discussion. This is the background of my book “The War In Our Cities – How Radical Islamists Undermine Germany (Der Krieg in unseren Staedten – Wie radikale Islamisten Deutschland unterwandern), published in German in the Spring of 2003. While the media bashed me for its content, it is not a work of fiction. It is truthful: I compiled the findings of German and other intelligence services on terror networks in Germany. The Muslim Brotherhood, gathering nearly all radical groups under its umbrella, preaches “dialogue” to the outside world while inciting hatred within: it’s spin-offs pretend to be peaceful while they secretly support violent actions. When re-reading the reviews I am still surprised at the scorn and sneering of the media. Many critics put me into the extreme right-wing corner of politics because of the actions I demanded should be implemented. But even when the Minister of the Interior, Otto Schilly, went beyond what I suggested by far with his security measures in the following months, my image in the media did not improve. With time, one gets used to being blamed for being the bearer of bad news. Therefore I was pleased to be the recipient of the “Staatsbuergerlicher Preis” (Civic prize) for my research on defense against terror, presented by Bavaria’s Minister of the Interior, Guenther Beckstein, who gave the laudation.
At the same time, more and more Islamists filed injunctions against my book. Dozens of injunctions and threatened law suits didn’t disturb me at the beginning. Had I not exhaustively documented every sentence I wrote in my book? I was glad for having done that. Engraved in the red-colored sandstone over the entrance to Freiburg University, where I studied in the 1980s, is the sentence “The Truth Will Make You Free”. I memorized that sentence. Thousands of times I walked under those letters on my way to the law faculty. The truth could not be suppressed, could it?
However, my documentation came from the documents of intelligence services. Wire-tapped phone conversations, secret photos of Islamist meetings, manhunts, exchange of findings between European intelligence services. I had not taken into account that in a court, no intelligence service will disclose its sources and processes of gaining information to become part of the public record. I alone was therefore going on trial. The documents did not help, for the Islamists from the camouflaged fronts of the Muslim Brotherhood simply denied their content. Even when public, official reports – for example, from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany – confirmed my statements, those suing me deinied their content and filed another lawsuit agains the relevant government office. The whole exercise was getting expensive, and soon my legal costs exceeded €50 000. My impression was that some of the claimants were cynically exploting the opportunities offered by the German constitution while seeking at the same time to destroy that very same constitution and the state. I remember an Islamist from Marburg who got legal aid and denied all passages concerning him, pretending to be destitute. He lost the suit before it began, as he owned several apartments. My publisher and I have had several such experiences. The son of this one particular Islamist is today one of the best known spokespeople for Musilim organizations in Germany, My time in court was very interesting: plaintiffs claimed they never celebrated, for instance, the attacks on 9/11, although they were filmed doing so by intelligence services. They knew that members of these services would never show their face in court.
If somone had told me then that several German intelligence services were investigating me because of treasonous disclosure, I would not have believed them. The representatices of the intelligence services were encouraging me during the trials and continued to leak documents to me. This way I could inform the public of terror structures and their networks. On March 11th, 2004, Islamist terrorists attacked in Madrid. Several sources told me a few days later that leads to the identity of the attackers led to Germany. I spoke about this on TV on March 25th and 26th. Otto Schilly, the Minister of the Interior at that point in time, was reportedly furious. He repudiated the accuracy of my statements. Hans Leyendecker attacked me in the Sueddeutsch Zeitung, obviously informed about my “false alarm” and titled the article “Empty Bragging – An Expert on Terror”. Six weeks later, both Focus and Spiegel reported that one of the Spanish attackers had lived in Germany and the leads that the administation had denied did indeed lead to Germany. Hans Leyendecker was wrong.
In the meantime, my fortunes changed. In March 2004, my home and the offices of my wife, in a different building, were searched. The allegation? Bribery of civil servants and Assistance to Treason. I felt like I was in a movie. Never had I offered money for information to any civil servant. The authorities had actively leaked information to me for over a decade, and their representatives had always encouraged me to publish. However, the investigating prosecutor once was able to prove that journalists were bribing to get information, and thus my destiny took a turn for the worst. The bearer of bad news was to be publicly executed.
On the Interneht, Islamists celebrated the statements of the Office of the Prosecution in Frankfurt . Most of the media joined them in their triumph. Suddely I was a criminal. Old friends started avoiding me, neighbors started to refuse to accept packages for a “criminal”, and my wife lost her means of income. A picture of her offices from the outside appeared in a yellow-journalism newspaper and made sure that the clients of her accounting service were warned not to do business with a “criminal”. As her lease ran for another 12 months, my wife had to pay rent for a full year without income from clients, collateral damage from the German security authorities. At the same time, Lueneburg Universitry had decided to give me a full professorship. Now I have to wait for the criminal charges against me to be dismissed.
Since no evidence of bribery could be found, further searches followed. Between March 2004 and March 2005, my private home and the offices of my wife were searched twice, my tax accountant was searched in order to find evidence of my entertaining civil servants. In spite of the fact that I never had an office at the Lueneburg University and that the Prosecutor was aware of my pending professorship, the University of Lueneburg was also searched in the hope of finding evidence that I entertained someone there, fleshing out the charge of bribery of civil servants. The Dean and the other Professors have lasting impressions of that investigation. I have never entertained any civil servants, with the exception of Minister Beckstein (my wife baked three cakes for him and his body guards), so I was confident that the Frankfurt Prosecution Office would publically apologize for the false accusations. As it was, the case was closed in 2005, both on bribery and on assisting treason. Unfortunately, the Prosecutor can’t be forced to announce the dismissal of a case with the same kind of publicity that the investigations had opened with, and the public continues to have the impression that I may have bribed civil servants.
Replacing these false and libelous accusations, the Prosecutor has been investigatin me for over two and one-half years on the charge of incitement to betray state secrets. The case was brought over a year ago. Unfortunately, the court, where I could quickly prove that I never incited any civil servant to betry state secrets, seems to have better things to do than give me my day in court: as I write these lines, there is not even a gimmer of hope that a date will be set for this case to come before the court. After over two and one-half years I will be moving away from the German state of Hessen, since I don’t want to co-finance my own prosecution with my taxes.
I have heard from many civil servants that anti-terror manhunts are strapped because of a lack of money. Urgently requested wire-tapping within the environment of violent Islamists are not approved be the prosecution, even without the money problems that this office apparently lacks. Money obvioulsy flows and flew freely in my case, however. According to documents I’ve been able to see, my book mentioned above has been fact-checked by several clerks, sentence for sentence to see where my information might have come from overa a period of several weeks. There was also money for wire-tapping. When I talked to journalists, the security authorities were in the know. For a while I was “PBO” – marked for observation by the police. Six searches, wire-tapping, observation by specialists coming from far away and the analysis of my book cost a lot of money – money that is lacking to investigate terror networks.
For the record, once again: nobody accuses me of spreading untrue information in public statements or in books on the terror networks in Germany and the danger they represent to the public. On the contrary, this information is based on the truth, but is obviously perceived as being such a threat to the public that it cannot be allowed to spread. However, if you concentrate too much on the bearer of bad news, the real danger sometimes gets forgotten.
In February of 2006, the magazine “Park Avenue” published a long report of mine on the relation between phone shops and terror cells in Germany. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation always had responded to my inquiries that there was no such connection, while German security authorities had the evidence that this was the case. Had I published this evidence and thus exposed the Federal Criminal Police Office, the next series of searches, the seventh, would have followed. It took the discovery of the suitcase bombing conspiracy, fortunately prevented more or less by accident, until the Federal Criminal Police Office was made aware of the connection between call-shops and terror cells. Today, we know that Lebanese terrorists built their conspirancy via the call-shop scene in Hamburg and Kiel. In Madrid and London the security authorities found this as well – but only after the attacks.
My book mentioned above is no longer available. You can only buy it second-hand on Amazon and eBay. Most of the forecasts I made in the book have been confirmed by reality, but Islamists have succeeded in forcing the publisher to quietly take it off the market in the Summer of 2006, after the book had passed all legal hurdles and was selling strongly. Islamists from Birmingham and Vienna threatened a flood of law suits, which obviously had no basis. One of the claimants stated that he had never been a member of the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, while when seeking asylum in Germany he had justified his petition by stating that he was persecuted in his home country as a member of ” Al ikhwan muslimoun”. This is the Arabic term for the Muslim Brotherhood.
These threats were backed by the announcement that further legal suits by other Islamists would follow until the book was taken off the market. Both the publisher and the author took the book off the market, since not even on politician was willing to give his or her support. Nobody was interested. An end to the case against the “criminal” Ulfkotte is not in sight. A civil servant recently let me know that an “anonymous note” with suspicion of pedophile pornography on my computer” is all that is needed to justify another search warrant. At the same time, I regularly find offical documents of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Intelliegence Service, marked “confidential” or “secret”, in my mailbox, against my will and uncalled for. The first set of such documents I returned to the proper authorities by registered mail. But the “fun” didn’t end there: when I call to ask to whom I should return the documents, I don’t get an answer.
Immediately after the numerous searches I was furious with the German administration. Today, I only feel pity. And dismay that politicains prefer to close their eyes while those who disclose the Islamist networks are prosecuted. In Islamist cirlces, the name Udo Ulfkotte is not proof that the fundamentalists and those willing to use violence are on the “right” path. A young Muslim that my students know told me that it must be a sign of Allah that the author of the book revealing their terror networks is now a defendant in a criminal process, while Islamists continue to recruit unimpared.
For many years I have been going to the Forest Chapel in the Taunus forest in the mornings, where I light a candle and find strength for the new day in prayer. During all those years of fighting and indignity this chapel was a place where I could gather confidence. Since February 2006, the chapel has been vandalized several times. On the 5th of Juiy I found it in the worst state yet: candle holders had been struck off the walls, and the Madonna, carved from the wood of the Lime tree, had served as the target for thrown bottles. When I told the police what happened, they asked me what I expected them to do. I am not complaining about the police officers in charge, but rather I have realized that our society’s values have changed so much, Had a Muslim prayer room been vandalized, the Office for Criminal Investigation would certainly have not hesitated to open an investigation. In this case nothing happened – nothing. Two weeks later, a local paper reported the vandalism. That was it. In the meantime, the Chapel has been vandalized for the fourth and fifth time, after which it was painstakingly restored and repainted with donations from the local population. I no longer bother the police with such information. The world I live in is obviously upside down.