Berlin creates anti-terror command centre

14th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 December 2004 , BERLIN - Germany has set up an anti-terrorism command headquarters in Berlin staffed by senior police and intelligence officials to allow faster reaction to threats posed mainly by Islamic radicals, Interior Minister Otto Schily said on Tuesday. The centre, at a secret location in the city's Treptow district, will have 200 staffers from the Federal Crime Bureau, the domestic security agency and foreign intelligence as well as other agencies when it reaches full strength in mid-2005. A

14 December 2004   

BERLIN - Germany has set up an anti-terrorism command headquarters in Berlin staffed by senior police and intelligence officials to allow faster reaction to threats posed mainly by Islamic radicals, Interior Minister Otto Schily said on Tuesday.

The centre, at a secret location in the city's Treptow district, will have 200 staffers from the Federal Crime Bureau, the domestic security agency and foreign intelligence as well as other agencies when it reaches full strength in mid-2005.

A daily threat assessment meeting will provide information to police, federal border police and state prosecutors, said Schily.

Germany is not merging its separate police and foreign and domestic spy agencies with the new anti-terror HQ, Schily noted.

Any such move would be strongly opposed by the Greens which serve as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's junior coalition partner.

Schily, a former member of the Greens who quit to join Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), complained that the Greens were preventing closer cooperation at the new terrorism headquarters due to their political orthodoxy.

"What the Greens have said is questionable to put it mildly," he said, adding that the party failed to realise police had to be involved in prevention when it came to terrorism and that old operational limits placed on officers were now becoming blurred.

The head of Germany's police union, Konrad Freiberg, said concerns of the Greens needed to be swept aside given current dangers.

Freiberg and Bavarian Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein said it was wrong to have separate office blocks for the different agencies at the anti-terror centre just to pay lip service to German law which mandates separation of the services.

Schily said Germany's anti-terror HQ was not a copy of the US Department of Homeland Security and also not an independent authority but rather would report to existing institutions in Germany.

"Islamic terrorism is a threat to our existence," said Schily, adding that it was a long-term problem and possibly a rising danger.

August Hanning, the chief of Germany's BND foreign intelligence service, said his agency saw no special current threat to Germany by Islamist radicals but he said the generally high threat level remained especially given Germany's military role in Afghanstan.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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