Andreas Baader: On the Geneva Convention
June 2nd, 1977
The demand for the application of the Geneva Convention is a necessary vehicle for our politics, because the dead wings, isolation, and stress manipulation are being used to break the group in prison, to prepare for show trials, and to gain information, or more accurately, to gain informants. It has been clear since 72, when, for example, Schmidt said in a government statement that the goal of the countertactic is to use prisoners who have been turned to infiltrate the illegal structures. It is clear that this is easier in prison, where state security and the state security psychiatrists have total control over our living conditions, and where electronic surveillance is easier than it is in the scene, which can respond to repression with semi-conspiratorial measures and a system of filters, which set in motion a process of polarization.
There is a history of illegal resistance groups and there is a history of police tactics. If we don’t understand the latter, and if we don’t recognize them in the measures against us, we will be defeated by the old reality that the police apparatus has a linear learning process and the illegal groups learn by acting, learning in leaps and bounds.
We don’t believe that this demand on the part of the prisoners will be achieved. We’ve never said that we did. What will be achieved is that the demand will raise awareness and resistance against the international counterinsurgency line in West Europe, which has now become government policy: the criminalization of the urban guerilla (isc Report). In any event, what the guerilla is addressing here and what it is struggling for is international awareness. Everything must be concentrated on exposing and disrupting the American strategy in West Europe, which is being carried through by the scripted domestic and foreign policies of the frg.
None of that is new. The weapons used against the prisoners aren’t all bad, because the aggressive way in which they use special laws, special courts, special handling, all the special measures in this trial to destroy us, while at the same time denying that they are doing so, will expose the system internationally and will isolate it.
By publicizing these measures, which are forbidden by the Geneva Convention (because it is a set of rules for emergency situations that establishes how human rights should be understood in intra-state conflicts, which the discourse no longer addresses) people will be mobilized and radicalized around the critical issue: that the state is at war (which Maihofer made very clear in Karlsruhe) and, therefore, is in a dialectic that—because war frames the question of legitimacy along military lines—destroys the ideological justification of the constitutional state itself.
All of this is about this process and not just a tattered piece of paper. Through it runs the horizontal and vertical learning and polarization process, which is necessary for the struggle to develop. It is the terrain on which we can very concretely organize our logistics, our information, and the defense of our underground members and the prisoners.
pow status on its own will never be enough to protect against the coercive psychological and spiritual destruction of the “irregulars”—and if it is ever forced through, it will not be because the prisoners can force the state to exercise its monopoly of violence according to the legal rules of civil war, but as a result of the international character and concrete reality of the liberation wars, which also address these demands.
Institute for the Study of Conflict, an “antiterrorist” thinktank based in London, England.