(Eng) Antifa Info-Bulletin / Supplement 96/01/23

Thu, 1 Feb 1996 09:24:37 +0100

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||* -- SUPPLEMENT - * - January 23, 1996 - * - SUPPLEMENT -- *||


Periodically, AFIB will post updates on topical events of
interest to subscribers. Unlike the regular weekly bulletin,
occasional supplements will provide coverage of breaking events
and present alternative views not found in the "mainstream"


1. Update on Luebeck massacre: from _Germany Alert_

2. The Trial of Kiernan Frazier Knutson; state targets
anti-racist activist: from the Anti-Fascist Defense


Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996


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Witness denies government claims that arrested man argued with
him on night before deadly firebombing

LUEBECK. Germany's attempt to pin the murder of ten refugees
on a 21 year old Lebanese resident is beginning to look as
suspicious as the killer blaze itself. An attorney Safwan Eid,
who has been arrested and charged with the 10 murders, says his
client, who was injured while escaping the inferno, was asleep
when the firebombing took place.

Much more damning to the government's claims, however, comes
in a statement from Gustaf Sossou, an African refugee who German
officials say got into a fight with Eid on the night before the
blaze. Sosson told reporters that he had not even argued with

Speaking through his lawyer, Eid said that he, his parents
and six brothers and sisters were all asleep when the fire began.
Eid's mother and a sister were seriously injured while trying to
escape the raging fire.

The disintegrating government story has led to further
speculation that Germany is staging a massive attempt to cover-up
for neo-Nazis who had threatened the refugees on numerous
occasions and are believed by many to have firebombed the
four-storey building.

Three Germans, all reportedly identified with the neo-Nazi
scene, were detained after the killer blaze but later released
because, according to government claims, that had an alibi.

Among the ten dead in the Luebeck fire were four children.
Refugees from Lebanon, Syria, Zaire, Togo and Poland were
attacked as they slept.

Survivors said they fear Germany is staging a cover-up to
deflect international outrage at the pogrom. Skinheads shouting
fascist slogans and other Germans wearing Nazi armbands had on
numerous occasions threatened to murder the refugees, but the
government refused requests for security guards, they said.

Fire officials and a local prosecutor said Thursday that
multiple fires set off the inferno. Survivors spoke of smelling
an odor like kerosene - frequently used in Nazi attacks -- as
they fled the raging inferno. But on Friday some government
officials tried claiming the refugees may have died from an
"electrical fire."

Luebeck's police chief said the fire began on the first
floor of the gutted apartment complex. Then, on Sunday, officials
claimed the blaze started on the fourth floor, and was set by

Meanwhile in Bonn, PDS parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke revealed
hundreds of attacks that had previously gone unreported. From
last January through November there were 406 racist, anti-Semitic
and neo-Nazi attacks in Germany, government figures obtained by
Jelpke disclosed.

They included 33 anti-foreigner and 2 anti-Semitic
firebombings, 282 anti-foreigner and 8 anti-Semitic attacks
against persons, 31 anti-Semitic cemetery desecrations, and 50
anti-Semitic attacks that caused property damage. The government
figures disclosed an additional 1,248 "anti-foreigner and
right-wing-extremist" and 662 other anti-Semitic crimes had been
commited. Jelpke revealed government statistics documenting 351
persons who had been injured in the attacks.

The refugees Luebeck were fire bombed about 3:30a.m.
Thursday as most of them lay sleeping in the turn of the century

Eyewitnesses said one of those killed in the pogrom, an
African woman, died when she jumped out of an upper floor window
while holding a baby in her arms. The infant was reported alive
but seriously injured.

On Friday, German police freed four neo-Nazis who had been
held as suspects in the attack. They had been seen in the area of
the refugees' home only minutes after the firebombing but claimed
they had an alibi.

Luebeck is the same western German port city where Nazis
firebombed a synagogue during the 1994 Jewish Passover holiday.
Before the new murderous attack, Germany's worst anti-foreigner
attack was in Solingen, where five Turkish women and children
were murdered.


Kiernan Frazier Knutson, an anti-racist activist from
Minneapolis, is on trial for defending himself against an assault
by a Nazi bonehead on October 22, 1993. Knutson was attacked by
Daniel Simmer, a goose-stepping wannabe Brownshirt, during an
anti-racist demonstratation at the University of Minneasota.

Simmer had attempted to assault Knutson with a set of brass
knuckles. A fight broke out and Simmer was laid-low -- so much
for the "master race." The cops let the Nazi off scott-free, but
six weeks later Knutson was arrested and charged with two counts
of felony assault. He faces up to 12 years in prison and $20,000
in fines.

[begin report]

Tue Jan 23 09:01:06 1996


After four grueling days and much drama, the prosecution finally
rested its case against Kieran Frazier Knutson on Monday (January
22). The defense began early Monday, and is expected to continue
through at least Wednesday and possibly Thursday.

The prosecution presented eight witnesses: Daniel Simmer (the
nazi skinhead Kieran defended himself against), Amy
Foreman-Simmer (nazi-wife of Simmer), Jesse Rosen (ex-reporter
for the University of Minnesota's student newspaper), a nurse, a
doctor (who reported Simmer's injuries), two cops and a state
investigator. They also tried to introduce two "new" witnesses
at the last minute, claiming they were able to contact them just
before the trial, but the judge refused because the defense had
had no time to prepare for them. They may be brought in as
rebuttal witnesses later.

Simmer and Foreman-Simmer's testimony was a collection of
half-truths, waffling, and contradiction. Both tried to sidestep
the issue of their nazi beliefs, admitting only that they "have
pride in their race." The denial of their nazi beliefs and their
argument that they came to "observe" the anti-racist rally and
not disrupt it was paper-thin. They also tried to play down the
brass knuckles found on Simmer's body by the police that night.
Simmer claimed the knuckles are a paperweight in the design of
"WW II replica brass knuckles," and not really brass knuckles
themselves. He also claimed that he brought them with him for
use in an art project. He could not explain why he had no other
art or school materials with him at the time.

The Simmers stuck to their story that Kieran attacked Dan Simmer
unprovoked, but there were contradictions in their testimony. One
said Kieran walked around Simmer from the left before striking
him, the other from the right. Their stories of how much beer
they had and where they drank them conflicted, as did their
accounts of what happened immediately after Kieran struck Simmer
and a crowd of 7-10 people tumbled down the footbridge stairs.

Jesse Rosen, a reporter for the Minnesota Daily at the time, was
the prosecution's chief witness. Rosen originally tried to get
out of testifying, but he was forced to by a court because he had
already given a statement to the police (which he never signed).
Rosen was a very reluctant witness, who couldn't seem to remember
much of anything that night (it was over two years ago). In
fact, the prosecution tried to have him declared a hostile
witness, which would have let her ask him more direct questions,
but the judge denied her motion. Rosen's testimony did hurt us,
however, in that he claimed to see Kieran hit Simmer "repeatedly"
(Kieran only struck him once) and that he saw no provocation on
Simmer's part.

After the medical personnel and the cops, the prosecution was
about to rest at 4:15 on Friday when the news suddenly came down
that the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned a lower judge's
recent decision and decided that the campus paper (the Daily)
would have to turn over photos of the incident. The Daily has
refused to do so for the past two years, claiming that if they
did it would set a precedent that would effectively make the
media an arm of the state. The county attorney's office then
spent the weekend scheming on how to get the photos, or how to
stop the trial until they did. If they were able to stop the
trial, the jury would have had to be dismissed, a new judge
assigned to the case and the whole trial would have had to start
over again! This, obviously, would be terrible for Kieran, and
so his lawyer Keith Ellison argued strongly against it Monday
morning. We were successful and the judge refused to stop the
trial. The Daily still refuses to hand over the photos and now
promise to take the matter to the state Supreme Court.

After that drama, the prosecution finally rested
("provisionally"--they still think they're going to get the
photos) and the defense began. Our first witness, Steff Yorek, a
member of the Progressive Student Organization, testified about
the organization of the anti-racist rally and about what she saw
happen between Kieran and Simmer that night. Her testimony
contradicted Rosen and the Simmers' in key areas. The
prosecutor, who has been absolutely vicious throughout the trial,
attacked Yorek, accusing her and three other PSO members of
plotting trial strategy in order to make up a story to protect
Kieran. This is of course a complete lie, and it shows two
things: 1) the trial is a political one because the prosecution
is trying to degrade witnesses for their political beliefs and
associations, and 2) the prosecution really wants Kieran bad but
they have no case, so they have to resort to attacks on the
integrity of witnesses.

After Yorek, expert witness Leonard Zeskind from the Center for
Democratic Renewal (a Klan and Nazi surveillance organization
from Atlanta) testified about the four nazi patches on Simmer's
jacket that night. Zeskind's testimony revealed that the Simmers
are nazis or nazi sympathizers, despite what they claim, and thus
revealed them to be liars as well as boneheads. After Zeskind
was another member of the PSO, Jennifer McKeever, who gave
testimony about organizing for the rally and the rally itself.
The defense will probably bring forward at least six more
witnesses before it rests.

If you would like further information about the trial, feel free
to contact Joel of the Anti-Fascist Defense Committee at this
address. Also, faxes and phone calls to the county attorney's
office are more important than ever. We need to be in their face



o Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman: 612-348-5550
o Head of prosecution Pete Connors: 612-348-5505

Mike Freeman's office @ 612-348-9712

[Kieran Frazier Knutson, 24, faces up to twelve years in prison
and $20,000 in fines for charges stemming from an anti-racist
rally at the University of Minnesota campus in October 1993. The
prosecution maintains that Knutson hit Daniel Simmer with a
flashlight at the rally. Knutson does not deny hitting Simmer
but claims that Simmer is a neo-nazi skinhead and that he struck
him in self-defense.]

joel / Anti-Fascist Defense Committee
PO Box 7075
Minneapolis, MN 55407

* * * * *

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