Sunday, August 19, 2007

Research = Terrorism in Germany?

Seems hard to believe, but here's a "news" story on MySpace. (I didn't know they had news.)
Germany arrested urban sociologist Andrej Holm because of his academic activities. He was accused of being member of a “terrorist association” called “militante gruppe” (militant group) who is suspected to be behind arson attacks against police and army vehicles. Holm was arrested because his publications contain keywords and phrases, which are also used in the texts written by the Militante Gruppe (especially the term “gentrification”). The warrant also claims that Holm is intellectually capable of authoring the rather sophisticated texts of the militant groups, since he has a PhD in political science. This person is also said to be suspicious because “he works in a research institution and thus has access to libraries, which he can use inconspicuously for doing the research needed to produce the texts of the militant group”.
See this open letter of protest. I haven't been able to find a web page for Andrej Holm that confirms that he is an academic. Most of the Google links fail. Perhaps he was once associated with the Department of Social Sciences at Humbolt University zu Berlin. He is listed on this page as the co-author of a paper by the chair of the department. This 1999 paper lists him as being affiliated with that University. But he is not on the current faculty page.

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