Berliner Zeitung - Oct. 23 2008
Death on the streets: an English student gets involved with an anti-Semitic sect and dies on a German autobahn. The authorities treat the case as suicide. Politicians ask questions
Marlies Emmerich and Frank Nordhausen
BERLIN/LONDON. Erica Duggan's struggle to have the matter investigated seems to be reaching its conclusion. At the beginning of November the highest court in Britain will decide whether the case of her son, Jeremiah, will be reopened in England. Jeremiah died under mysterious circumstances on a German autobahn near Wiesbaden in March 2003. The 22-year-old had been attending a so-called cadet training seminar organised by the anti-Semitic LaRouche sect in Wiesbaden. Afterwards he was hit by a car and killed in the early morning on the autobahn just outside the city. The police decided straightaway that it was suicide. Although evidence emerged that did not come from the site of the accident, such as the student's bloodstained wallet, there was no autopsy and the investigation was closed. The sect denied having any responsibility.
Erica Duggan, a teacher from London and daughter of a Berlin Jew who escaped the Holocaust, has been fighting the ignorance of the investigators for a long time, in England as well as in Germany. She has commissioned expert reports and drawn up memoranda and statements, and amassed huge debts in the process. She has despaired many times, but she has always carried on. She has transformed the death of her son into an indictment of the legal authorities in both countries.
She has found a hearing in the British media, which have given extensive coverage to the anti-Semitic sect that got its claws into Jeremiah before his death. His mother has set up a website in the Internet which gathers together all the important information about the sect. She has gained the support of 99 Members of the British Parliament, who have demanded in a letter the re-examination of the circumstances of Jeremiah's death. Now Erica Duggan has managed for the first time to get German politicians interested in the sect. The world's first public forum has taken place in Berlin, at which ex-members and experts talked about it with politicians, Hans-Christian Stroebele from the Green Party and Gert Weisskirchen from the SPD, both Members of the German Parliament. Simon Hughes, President of the opposition Liberal Democrats and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons [in the British Parliament], also attended. He demanded a thorough investigation: "We owe it to Jeremiah that nothing gets swept under the carpet."
Indeed, the sect is notorious in Berlin, where their recruiting gangs recruit young people on the streets. They have their own secret service and even stand at elections to get publicity. Then they call themselves the Solidarity Civil Rights Movement (BueSo). Or they use cover names like European Workers' Party or the Schiller Institute. Experts call the group, which has some 1,500 members worldwide, the "LaRouche Movement" after its head, the extreme right wing radical American Lyndon LaRouche, a convicted fraudster who has spent five years in prison for fraud amounting to millions.
At the conference in Berlin-Friedrichshain last weekend Ursula Caberta, the head of the Hamburg state government's Scientology working group, said that the LaRouche Movement together with Scientology is one of the world's most dangerous psycho-organisations. Caberta read a letter written by some parents in Berlin, who have lost their 22-year-old son to this group. The son has dropped out of university to work full-time for BueSo, and now only meets his parents on condition that they do not talk to the media. So the parents have stayed anonymous.
Like a Who-Dunnit
They were not the only ones to speak up for the first time on that day. A French man, who was in the sect's secret service for eleven years, talked about contacts with the French domestic state secret service and about bizarre conspiracy theories. That sounded amusing.
But when American Molly Kronberg told of brainwashing and of her husband who was driven to death [suicide] 18 months ago, many listeners were deeply moved. A university lecturer from Nottingham outlined the anti-Semitic ideology of LaRouche, saying that the leader of the sect has stated that an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers was behind the September 11th attacks.
Jeremiah Duggan apparently attracted the sect's attention because he was open about his Jewishness there, according to his parents, Erica and Hugo Duggan. Hugo Duggan received a postcard from Jeremiah a few days before the alleged suicide saying, "See you soon!" Jeremiah died just a few hundred metres away from the office of the LaRouche secret service. And yet no members of the sect were questioned in Wiesbaden. The mass of contradictory circumstantial evidence that the parents have collected reads like a who-dunnit. Was the young man chased on to the autobahn while trying to escape? "I think it's likely that he was subjected to hard psychological procedures," said Molly Kronberg, who was a member of the LaRouche sect for many years.
It is these suspicious elements that are now being taken up by Greens politician Stroebele. His enquiry to the federal government about the work and financing of the group was, he said, answered with "We know nothing". Despite numerous articles and other publications on LaRouche, the federal government is "not even remotely thinking" of prohibiting the sect. There is still a constitutional complaint pending in Karlsruhe against the closing of the investigations into the case of Jeremiah Duggan. "What more do we have to do to be heard at last?" asked the mother of the dead young man.