BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Baader-Meinhof Gang/Red Army Factions
Baader-Meinhof Gang/Red Army Factions #CR0001960
(Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or
Source: CIA, EuroTer, Interpol, MI-6
Type: Political terror organization
Anarchist/left-wing terrorist organization, that carries out frequent acts in it's own name,
or in league with another high-profile terrorist organization.
The group was initially dependent on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
[#CR0001639] for initial training, as well as Soviet and other Eastern Bloc assistance.
[EuroTer] The RAF did collaborate with Direct Action [#CR0000821] and the
Communist Combatant Cells [#CR0002689], and currently appears to be collaborating
with the 1st of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group [#CR0002231]. [CIA]
Ten to twenty, plus several hundred supporters.
Organized into hard-core cadres that carry out terrorist attacks, numbering ten to twenty
operatives. The RAF also controls a network of supporters who provide logistic and
propaganda support. [Interpol]
Andreas Baader [#LL], former founder and leader, commit suicide, 1977, Ulrike Meinhof
[#LL], former founder and leader commit suicide, 1977. Leaders of new faction
Unknown. Believed to be supporting itself with black market sales and other criminal
Smallarms, explosives and military equipment. Self-sustaining, but during Baader-
Meinhof period received support from Middle Eastern terrorists. East Germany gave
logistic support, sanctuary, and training during the 1980s. [EuroTer]
Suspected Criminal Activity:
On 27 June 1976, RAF members together with members of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine [#CR0001639] hijacked an Air France Paris-to-Tel Aviv flight to
Entebbe, Uganda, where 240 passengers were held hostage until rescued by Israeli
commandos on 1 July 1976, an operation in which all seven hijackers were killed along
with approximately 20 Ugandan soldiers. PFLP terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa plane to
Mogadishu, Somalia, on 13 October 1977, in order to force the German government to
release the captured leader's Baader and Meinhof. When the hijackers were foiled on 17
October 1977 by West German GSG-9 commandos, Baader and Meinhof committed
suicide. Since that time, the surviving group has called itself the Red Army Faction. More
than half of their actions have involved bombings, but have also included,
assassinations, sabotage, hijackings, armed attacks, and one hostage taking, namely
the kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer on 5 September 1977.
Bombing targets have included a U.S. Officers' Club in Frankfurt (11 May 1972); an
attempted bombing-assassination of NATO Commander Gen. Alexander Haig (25 June
1979); U.S. Air Force headquarters in Ramstein (31 August 1981); and the Rhein-Main
Air Force Base car-bombing attack carried out jointly with Direct Action (8 August 1985).
Assassinations have included the killing of German Supreme Court President Gunter
von Drenkmann (9 November 1974); German Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback (7
April 1977); Deutsche Bank Chairman Alfred Herrhausen (30 November 1989); an
attempt on Interior Ministry State Secretary Hans Neusel (27 July 1990); and Detlev
Rohwedder, a West German businessman involved in the liquidation and sale of former
East German state enterprises (1 April 1991).
With decline of world communism, has had trouble recruiting replacements for jailed
members. Now concentrating on domestic targets, particularly officials involved in
German or European unification and German security and justice officials. Carried out
one operation in 1993, destroying a new prison with 600 pounds of commercial
explosives. Police shootout with two members ended in death of GSG-9 officer and
group member Wolfgang Grams [#LL6842137]. Group temporarily galvanized afterward.
RAF has targeted US and NATO facilities in the past. During Gulf war, RAF shot up US
Embassy in Bonn with assault rifle rounds. There were no casualties, however.
The RAF, formerly known as the "Baader-Meinhof Gang," is a group of German
anarchistic, leftist terrorists active from 11 May 1972 to the present. The RAF, Direct
Action [#CR0000821], the Red Brigades [#CR0000659], the Communist Combatant
Cells [#CR0002689], and Prima Linea [#CR0002904] rationalized their terrorism in
revolutionary leftist terms but appeared to pursue terrorist violence as an end in itself
rather than as a strategy to achieve revolution. These groups can be considered "leftist"
insofar as they despised capitalism, believed in the superiority of a socialist state, and
often spoke in Marxist jargon. They were also anarchistic insofar as they limited their
purposes to destroying the existing capitalist states rather than building the foundations
of some successor socialist state. While RAF did not originally appear to have state
sponsorship, evidence has been found in East German government files following the
reunification of Germany showing that in the preceding 10 years the German Democratic
Republic provided logistical support, sanctuary, and training to the RAF. In the period
from 15-30 June 1990, East German police arrested 10 fugitive RAF members who had
been given asylum by the formerly Communist regime.
This group was formed out of the student unrest and leftist activism of 1968 when
Andreas Baader [#LL], imprisoned in 1968 for firebombing a Frankfurt department store,
escaped on 14 May 1970 with the help of Ulrike Meinhof [#LL], a left-wing journalist.
Together with another comrade they went to the Middle East where they underwent
terrorist training in camps run by the PFLP. On their return they engaged in shootings,
bombings, and abductions before being arrested in 1972. The continuing terrorist
activities of the rest of the Baader-Meinhof Gang were directed to freeing the two
imprisoned leaders. The RAF is the oldest of the groups described above as
"anarchistic, leftist terrorists," which seek to destroy the capitalist state without any
strategy to help build a successor socialist state. Currently the RAF also appears to be
the last of this kind of terrorist organization. Given the recent revelations of its
dependence on the defunct German Democratic Republic as a state sponsor, the future
of RAF is problematic. The 13 February 1991 assault on the U.S. embassy in Bonn
involving 250 rounds of small-arms fire in protest against Operation Desert Storm
suggests that RAF could return to the Middle East for any needed support, where a
number of anti-U.S. Middle Eastern states or groups might be willing to assume covert
sponsorship of such a group.
Although this group is estimated to have only 10 to 20 actual fighters, it has succeeded
in creating a support network that involves hundreds of Germans, many of whom are
well-educated professionals. RAF has also succeeded in perpetuating itself through two
generations of leadership, which indicates a higher potential for organizational survival.
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