Open letter to the Press
by Werner Mauss

March 03, 2017

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I address myself to you with an open letter presenting my personal opinion.

The media brings forward accusations. Witnesses are intimidated. Persons affected are hauled into the public view, prejudged and ultimately defamed. And with it ultimately their whole family. As I see it, the question arises:

Courts or the media? Who is right?

These are exceptional times, post factual times. Times where it seems more and more, that the end justifies the means. Times where faked news seem to be more effective than the communication of objective facts. Times where the published opinion –and thus, apparently, the general opinion– increasingly constitutes the measure of all things.

The media significantly contributes to the development of the general opinion. At least, that’s its noble task. Particularly in the preliminary stages of investigation proceedings or parallel to legal proceedings the media leaves a mark on the view of the party of an action or of a person affected. Even before an official or a court decision is rendered, everyone can form his or her supposedly own opinion, at the end a “verdict of the people”. Protected by the constitution the media is commonly referred to as the “fourth power” besides the judiciary, the legislative and the executive powers of the state. But what is the justification for it?

A quest for answers by taking the example of the legal proceedings against me, Werner Mauss.

Standing in the “dock of the press”

Since meanwhile twelve days of trial I am in the dock. In the near future, the Bochum district court will decide whether the allegations of the tax investigation against me are justified. According to the law, until then I am undoubtedly to be considered innocent. The court heard several witnesses. At each day of hearings media representatives have been present. The interest of the media was varyingly strong with the exception of one newspaper: the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports with regularity about the proceedings. It claims to be conducive to the reconnoitering by presenting supposed revelations. Yet the investigative journalists Hans Leyendecker and Georg Mascolo had been “men of the first hour”. In July 2016, they reported for the first time about the trial. Particularly against the background of their personal achievement about the release of the “Panama Papers” they leave now doubt, that my position and my testimony in the course of this trial are not to be believed. Without awaiting the outcome of the hearing of evidence, the trust fund, managed by Western intelligence services, is edged beforehand to be a legend, thus, ultimately being invalidated as a selfserving declaration.

A priori the opinion is being preset, involved parties are consciously manipulated by threatening a broad publicity effect. That had an impact on individual witnesses for the defense. Against the backdrop of the threatened reporting about the witnesses themselves and the numerous reports about me memory gaps arose. To contest by pleading ignorance was all of a sudden for some witnesses the only way to avoid to suffer damage in the public view and thus, to escape from a negative reporting in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Who can hold that against the witnesses? When witnesses confirmed my version, it in turn did not result in doubts about the anticipated, “journalistically” largely propagated culpability. Exactly this kind of different evaluation in the course of the reporting gives rise to doubts, whether the Süddeutsche Zeitung is willing and able to impartially inform their readers. Instead, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and their journalistic protagonists could have a conflict of interest with respect to the current lawsuit, which compromises the guarantee of journalistic objectivity?

Is the personal crusade of the journalists Leyendecker and Mascolo a distraction tactic?

Among friends? Mascolo next to the first commander of the ELN and its guerilla fighters

Well, precisely Leyendecker and Mascolo have been the journalists, who themselves benefited from the trust fund of foreign trustors, which is dealt with in this lawsuit at the Bochum district court.

Leyendecker won many awards not least because he revealed numerous corruption scandals. He was a member of the advisory board at Transparency International, authors books with titles such as “the Great Greed – Corruption, Cartels, Pleasure Trips: Why our economy need a new moral”.1 A pretense with regard to virtue, which he hardly will be able to satisfy with regard to the matter in hand. He might realize that, since he is quoted as saying: “I do not believe for a second that a journalist can keep clean hands”.2 Mascolo, too, arrogates to himself to check each and any donation for legitimacy, and by virtue of his capabilities with a wagging finger publicly pointing to supposedly dubious cash flows, always being on the scent of personal advantage.

But for all that, isn’t it rather the case that both heavily cashed in on this matter? There was an adventure trip at the expense of Western intelligence services with a guaranteed gain and apparently without any qualms.

Leyendecker: Compulsion, Urge and Assault Rifle.

Leyendecker: Commander without basic military service

From 1992 up until 1998 - in coordination with the German Chancellery (Attachment 1) - I worked on a peace process project between the ELN guerilla and the Colombian government under president Ernesto Samper (Attachment 2). According to Leyendecker, the classified secret operation had been revealed to him by a BND official in 1995. Leyendecker was apparently determined to publish his insights without regard to the peace process. That would have implied the end of the peace efforts of the German federal government.

This plight let to an agreement between Leyendecker, the then management of “DER SPIEGEL” and myself to take along the SPIEGEL-team to an ELN camp. As stipulated in a contract, they declared to refrain from publications related to me (Attachment 3). At the special request of Leyendecker they also took part in a second operation, in concrete terms: in the liberation of hostages of the ELN.

The travel expenses in Colombia – in particular the charter flights, speedboat charter, board and overnight accommodation and security personnel in the amount of more than 380.000 Deutschmark back then – for Leyendecker, Mascolo and their team was paid for out of the very trust fund, that is tried now at the Bochum district court. I assumed that Leyendecker, Mascolo and their team at least concerned themselves with proper working papers and permissions to film from the Colombian authorities, particularly for footage inside the guerilla camp. That was not the case. In order to enter the country with their equipment in the first place, Leyendecker, Mascolo and their team paid the custom officers and border guards “on the quiet”. Leyendecker expected from me to settle these negotiated payments “on the quiet” as well.

Leyendecker and Mascolo took it for granted, that their travel in Colombia was completely paid for. They didn’t concern themselves at all with a financial contribution on their own. Just as little, the journalists seemed to having faced up to the extremely dangerous situation on-site. Only when heavily armed combat helicopters – machine guns at the ready – were heading for us and our guerilla escorts in a low-altitude flight, they understood the gravity of the situation. By the command of the guerilla we jumped right into a corn field and thus, were able to save our lives. One of the journalists lay right beside me shaking with fear and cursing the management of “DER SPIEGEL” and himself. He literally was scared by the fear of losing his life. Others got to take of the responsibility. They themselves operated and lived out of other peoples’ pocket like in paradise.

Leyendecker: Comrades, come rally? Ready for a last stand?

Currently, the Süddeutsche Zeitung speculates about telephone costs, public money, tax evasion. The motto of its former head of department Leyendecker has always been: “Think left and live right”.

If you turn to the left in Colombia, do you pay to the right taxes for that in Germany?

Leyendecker: Connected with home via satellite

Did the journalists Leyendecker and Mascolo pay taxes for the gained advantages? Did Leyendecker and Mascolo perhaps receive from DER SPIEGEL extra fees by private billing for this trip?

The same commanders, who at the ELN camp had been available for interviews by the SPIEGEL-team for days on end, are today involved in peace talks with the actual Colombian president Santos. Today’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Santos was present, when on July 15, 1998 a basic agreement for peace in Colombia was concluded at the monastery of Himmelspforten. For years, I worked and made arrangements for the conference in Germany, with the support of the Federal Chancellery and the German Bishops conference. Vital important negotiators were flown in by me personally from the guerilla camp in the Colombian jungle to that conference. This, too, as agreed, had been financed by the trust fund of Western intelligence services.

Via-à-vis the left oriented ELN, Leyendecker and his team wanted to score. With lumber from the jungle a stage was built, on which at one evening the journalists performed rather drunk and with unending enthusiasm worker’s songs in honor of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Does the so called “investigative journalism” unarm the law?

Among girlfriends? Leyendecker with women guerilla fighters.

A media coverage, which before and during the proceedings onesidedly pictures an aggrieved party, prejudges, no matter what the result is. This is a threat to our society and its constitutional fundament. Verdicts have to be rendered exclusively by an independent court “in the name of the people”. It has to be reserved to the court to hear witnesses, who are neither influenced nor intimidated. No court would accept, if a party of the proceedings would influence a witness like the Süddeutsche Zeitung did in its reporting prior to and during my entire proceedings and even by directly approaching important witnesses. The Süddeutsche Zeitung as well as NDR and WDR were enjoined from doing a reporting about just these direct approaches of important witnesses for the defense, not until these witnesses of the defense have testified before the Bochum district court (decision by the Berlin district court, dated September 22, 2016, file reference 27 O 494/16). While NDR and WDR accepted the decision, the Süddeutsche Zeitung didn’t.

It’s the media, which indeed in most cases rightly so claims to have a mandate to call for transparency and objectivity. However, they too, have to allow to be judged against these standards. The Süddeutsche Zeitung perhaps writes (acts) in causa Werner Mauss for its own good. It is no (longer) an objective rapporteur. Would it be that, the Süddeutsche Zeitung would reveal in its current reporting, that it already had been defeated in numerous court proceedings against Werner Mauss and most recently even had to pay legal fines in an immense amount, because it doesn’t see itself bounded by court decisions (decision by the Berlin district court, dated November 17, 2016, file reference 27 O 494/16 – appeal is pending before the High Court). In this court case the Süddeutsche Zeitung meanwhile considers itself obviously above the law. Isn’t the state under the rule of law not being treated with contempt?

And its “investigative spear heads” Leyendecker and Mascolo?

Back then, Ida Mauss formed for herself a moral verdict about these two gentlemen and their role in and after Colombia and put that into writing in a letter to Leyendecker (Attachment 4). Because Leyendecker and Mascolo did not even abide by the imposed agreement and published footage for their own end. It must be assumed that Ida an I had to pay for that with additional months in unlawful imprisonment in Colombia. A detainment, out of which we were not supposed to be released alive. A detainment, during which our minor children, full of fear about their parents, waited at home left in the dark. A detainment, out of which investigative journalists made a good deal of money?

Beyond the moral, relevant to the matter itself, Leyendecker is presumably able to give himself an answer, partly because he once said: “the debate about corruption in the media had never been properly conducted. It was said, motorsport and travel journalists are corrupt – and there the debate ended.”3

The debate about the moral of the media and its protagonists has to be intensively carried on – particularly in today’s fastpaced world of online-news. Particularly because such journalists like Leyendecker and Mascolo are able to influence a court proceeding and its outcome and thus, are able to destroy lives – also that of families. That cannot possibly be the constitutionally protected task of a “pillar of our state”! Journalism or character assassination? The decision is yours!

“Character assassination can be worse than murder, because the person affected has to continue to live with the injustice”.


Werner Mauss




Mascolo: Saludos Amigos!
Mascolo: Saludos Amigos!
Leyendecker: Always an eye for the essential?
Leyendecker: Always an eye for the essential?
Leyendecker: Proud and bias?
Leyendecker: Proud and bias?
Leyendecker: Friends? Let’s have a drink!
Leyendecker: Friends? Let’s have a drink!
Mascolo: Always sharp-sighted?
Mascolo: Always sharp-sighted?
Mascolo: Sitting to the right, listening to the left
Mascolo: Sitting to the right, listening to the left
Leyendecker: Indiana Jones at the peril of his own life on Rio Magdalena
Leyendecker: Indiana Jones at the peril of his own life on Rio Magdalena
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