[IWAR] TERROR RAF calls it quits

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 16:15:38 PDT

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    Monday April 20 5:05 PM EDT 
    Baader-Meinhof Gang Says it is Disbanding
       By Robert Mahoney
       BONN (Reuters) - The guerrilla band that rocked the German establishment
       with bombings and assassinations in the 1970s and 1980s said Monday it
       had abandoned its struggle and disbanded.
       The Red Army Faction (RAF), known widely outside Germany as the
       Baader-Meinhof group, said in a statement sent to Reuters it was "now
       German security sources said the eight-page, closely typed statement was
       The RAF, which emerged from a group founded by Andreas Baader and Ulrike
       Meinhof, said it had failed to move on from its origins in the 1960s
       protest and anti-Vietnam war movement.
       Bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of prominent Germans and U.S.
       military personnel claimed over 50 lives and forced Germany to turn its
       institutions into virtual fortresses. The guerrillas saw themselves as
       exposing a fascist state in its true colors.
       Cities were plastered with "wanted" posters showing the faces of young
       men and women, many from privileged backgrounds. Bitter public disputes
       raged between public figures, politicians and artists, about the motives
       of the guerrillas and how to deal with them.
       "The RAF emerged from a liberation action nearly 28 years ago on May 14,
       1970," the RAF statement said. "Today we are ending this project. The
       urban guerrilla group in the form of the RAF is now history,"
       Interior Minister Manfred Kanther said the statement was being
       investigated. He said even if it was genuine the authorities would wait
       to see whether the organization would actually disband.
       "We are stuck in a dead end," the RAF said. The left-wing group
       acknowledged that guerrilla attacks were not the way to bring about the
       social revolution and justice that it said were still legitimate goals.
       "It was a strategic error not to build up a social-political
       organization next to the illegal, armed one," it said.
       The RAF captured world headlines in 1977 by kidnapping and killing
       industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer, with the aim of securing the
       release of Baader and three other guerrillas in Stammheim prison high
       security block in Stuttgart.
       Schleyer was shot in the head after a 45-day ordeal when a spectacular
       plane hijacking by four Palestinian guerrillas backing the kidnappers'
       demands was brought to an abrupt end by German commandos at Mogadishu
       airport in Somalia.
       On the same day, three of the Stammheim guerrillas, including Baader,
       were found dead in their cells in what authorities called a "suicide
       pact," the details of which have never entirely been explained.
       German authorities said last year they believed the RAF, most of whose
       members are either dead, in jail or have slipped into "ordinary" lives,
       was a spent force.
       Germany insists however that the tough anti-terrorism laws passed in the
       1970s and 1980s to combat the guerrillas are still needed today to fight
       a sharp rise in organized crime.
       The last killing attributed to the RAF was the 1991 murder of Detlef
       Rohwedder, head of the Treuhand agency which was privatizing East
       Germany's state industry.
       German reunification in 1990 dealt a body blow to the movement when 10
       RAF members believed to have been hiding in the Middle East were
       discovered living under false names and identities in the former
       communist East Germany.
       Four East German security officers were convicted of helping them in
       trial last year aimed at establishing the extent to which East Berlin
       supported international terrorism and punishing those behind the "unholy
       alliance" of the RAF and the Ministry for State Security (Stasi).
       Over the last few years messages from the RAF group have become rare,
       and its nine members left in jail all now reject political violence.

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