There’s no question that the Academy for Future Health seems like a rather nutty organization; if Google’s translation of its German-language philosophy is to be trusted, then the Academy apparently believes that the Vatican has ties to extraterrestrials, and that a bunch of elite financiers are hip to an approaching Doomsday. So when police in the Dominican Republic raided the group’s command in October 2012, killing a top-ranking member in the process, it was easy to buy into the government’s version of events: that the Academy was stockpiling weapons, possibly in order to carry out terrorist attacks intended to hasten some sort of Ragnarok. The cops had perhaps saved dozens, even hundreds of lives by heading off the threat posed by these bizarre Germans.
Yet that easy-to-understand narrative has disintegrated over the past year, starting with the release of surveillance video that contradicted police claims that they encountered substantial armed resistance during the raid. Then came the revelation that the cops had seized approximately $1.5 million in cash and goods while taking down the Academy, and that a large portion of that booty had disappeared from official custody.
Now three Academy members who were on trial for attempted murder and weapons possession have been acquitted of all charges by a Puerto Plata court.
It would not be surprising to learn that the Academy did, indeed, have an arsenal stashed in its compound, or that it was involved in activities more nefarious than simply fleecing gullible Germans. But the truth will be hard to come by now that the Dominican police have made such a hash of the investigation. The only real takeaway here is one that you already knew: in the absence of well-structured governmental oversight, there can be a very fine line between cops and criminals.