German police are compiling a Stasi-style "scent bank" database of potentially violent crusty protesters against global capitalism, according to reports.
An article in today's Guardian, dated from Berlin, reports that federal prosecutors confirmed German media reports of the polizei B.O. files yesterday. Reportedly, the German feds are worried about known troublemakers creating havoc at next month's G8 summit meeting.
A seven-mile wire fence has been erected around the Heiligendamm venue, and dawn raids have been carried out across Germany in order to collect smell records from possible G8-bashers.
"This has happened to several suspects," according to a spokesman for the feds.
Previous G8 conferences in other nations have often been targets for violent protest, with cheesed-off anti-capitalism campaigners making every effort to disrupt the onward march of the global economy as directed by the world's eight heftiest nations.
As popster Midge Ure told the BBC before the 2005 summit at Gleneagles: "G8 is synonymous with crusties turning up and putting in the windows at McDonald's."
With a high proportion of hardcore G8 opponents being from sections of the community who espouse a less-intensive personal hygiene regime, the remorselessly efficient German plods could be onto a winner here. Minging miscreants could be easily picked out from amidst well-scrubbed Teutonic protest marchers by sniffer dogs which had previously sampled the anarchist aroma files. Those with a clean sheet (or pants) would have nothing to fear.
But many in Germany have expressed outrage at the government's nihilist-niff files. Such methods were apparently the trademark of the dreaded East German Stasi secret police, back in the days of Communist rule east of the iron curtain. Police pong-forensics could raise privacy concerns. Forget about Big Brother watching you, now he's sniffing through your underwear drawer.
According to the Guardian, "scientists looking to expand the use of smell banks say it is possible to determine someone's age, their sex and any illnesses they might have through traces of their body odour".
The paper describes the tactics as "chilling espionage techniques". This could, in fact, be fair enough.
The crackdown seems especially unfair with current restrictions on taking liquids onto planes preventing new arrivals in the Bundesrepublik from freshening up before running the gauntlet of the border police stench check.
Worrying times, these. All in all, probably best to get hold of some solid soap if you're headed to Germany in the coming months.
More from the Guardian here. ®