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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Baader-Meinhof Gang/Red Army Factions
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Baader-Meinhof Gang/Red Army Factions #CR0001960 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). None known Source: CIA, EuroTer, Interpol, MI-6 Type: Political terror organization Scope: Anarchist/left-wing terrorist organization, that carries out frequent acts in it's own name, or in league with another high-profile terrorist organization. Affiliations: 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] Personnel: Ten to twenty, plus several hundred supporters. Operating Since: 1972 Structure: 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] Leaders: 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. Legitimate Connections: Unknown. Believed to be supporting itself with black market sales and other criminal operations. [MI-6] Resources: 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. Additional Commentary: 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.