Christof Gramm: The MAD problem (neue-deutschland.de)

Generals plan their action on the defensive and offensive. The Defense Minister apparently does the same. After she decided on the offensive and took over the combat plans of her predecessor, she can no longer turn back without losses. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer named right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr as a structural problem and now has to adapt her approach to this finding. The dissolution of a company from the Special Forces Command showed that she was serious about this. What Kramp-Karrenbauer cannot do without, therefore, are determined, devoted loyalists if necessary. Christof Gramm does not seem to have been such.

The MAD boss was charged with clearing up right-wing extremism as a structural problem. In his time there were more publicity gestures than in previous ones. But gestures are not enough. Statistics on right-wing extremist incidents in the Bundeswehr that Gramm introduced do not yet replace the fight against the causes of such incidents. And Gramm also nourished the version of the right-wing extremist individual cases, the exceptions that only confirm the rule of a blooming vest for the Bundeswehr. What he gleaned from his attempts to explain, not only suggests a lack of determination against right-wing structures, but also the suspicion of parallel views or even structures in the military counterintelligence service itself , remains to be seen.

.

Not just individual soldiers (neue-deutschland.de)

MAD boss Gramm has not fought extremism enough and has to go.

For five years, Christof Gramm was at the head of the Military Counter-Intelligence Service, the smallest of the German secret services, which is specifically responsible for defense against danger within the Bundeswehr, i.e. within its ranks. On Thursday, his boss, Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, traveled to the MAD headquarters in Cologne to notify Gramm of the dismissal from October. His transfer to temporary retirement is nothing more than that for the 62-year-old – the dismissal.

A personal arrival of the minister for this purpose seems quite unusual. The impression arises of a boss trying to be lenient at the moment of separation. Their reasoning does not sound reproachful either: The new section in the fight against extremist tendencies in the Bundeswehr and in the modernization of the MAD requires “additional efforts and dynamism”.

In 2017, the ministry commissioned the MAD to get to the bottom of the situation in the Bundeswehr, which led to a steadily growing number of incidents with a right-wing extremist background. The responsible minister, then still Ursula von der Leyen, made the internal command of the Bundeswehr the subject of public debate, a taboo zone that had been well-guarded until then. Whether and what resistance from der Leyen and later, after handing over to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, this felt in the ranks and at the top of the MAD, can only be speculated about. It soon became apparent that they had a difficult time with their resolute action, not only in public but also in the ranks of the Bundeswehr. Reforms of the MAD were initiated in October 2019, which, according to the Ministry of Defense, are now producing results. The investigation of incidents in the Special Forces Command reportedly also went back to investigations by the MAD.

These incidents and the fact that they reached the public eye through the media, of course, put the minister under pressure again. Thousands of rounds of ammunition, undetectable explosives and right-wing extremist activities in the ranks of the elite unit led to the dissolution of a company. According to critics, Christof Kramm, who is by nature a lawyer and not a military man, had followed the mantra that has been common for decades that it is not the Bundeswehr but individual soldiers who have a right-wing extremism problem. This is clearly not enough for the ambitions of his minister. Comment on page 8

.

Mask requirement in places in Munich

WITHTo contain the coronavirus, the city of Munich has decided that masks are required in certain public places and streets in the city center. This is the result of a meeting of the city’s crisis team, which met on Monday morning because of the persistently high number of infections. The regulation should apply from Thursday if the warning value of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants continues to exist within seven days. Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) assumes this.

In addition, the city is reintroducing restrictions in public and private life due to rising corona numbers. From Thursday onwards, only five people or two households are likely to meet in the Bavarian capital, said Reiter on Monday in Munich. This applies to both private and public spaces as well as in gastronomy.

Numbers skyrocket

Previously, the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had promised a mask requirement in public places in Munich, where the distance rules cannot be observed. He has very mixed feelings, for example when he looks at the pictures of wild Wiesn replacement parties like the weekend at the Viktualienmarkt. “I don’t want to take the joy away from anyone,” said Söder. But given the high number of infections in Munich, joy and reason should better go together.

In addition, the city’s health department is to be supported by the German armed forces in the future. “We will ask the Bundeswehr to provide 100 people to improve tracking.”

On Sunday, the Corona numbers in Munich had reached 55.6 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in one week. This means that an important limit value for proven new corona infections has been exceeded.

Söder said he wasn’t worried about the professionally organized events. “The problem is the private parties,” he said. “If reason doesn’t help, then it has to be controlled.” The aim is to enable schools and daycare centers to continue operating across Bavaria and to protect the economy from further restrictions.

“Bellyache” because of the Supercup final

There could also be stricter quarantine rules for the planned Supercup game between FC Bayern Munich and FC Sevilla in the Budapest corona risk area. Anyone who has been in a risk area abroad for less than 48 hours does not yet have to go into a two-week quarantine at home. Everyone should think carefully about whether they really want to go there, Söder told the radio station B5 currently. “I really have a stomachache when it comes to the Supercup.”

The European Football Union Uefa has so far stuck to its plans to play the Supercup final in front of spectators on Thursday in the Puskás Arena. The stadium capacity of 67,000 spectators is to be used up to 30 percent. Both clubs have around 3000 tickets available. Around 2,100 football fans want to accompany FC Bayern Munich to Budapest on Sunday, according to information.

.

Air Force puts space situation center into service

Dhe Bundeswehr wants to take a closer look at space in the future. Specialized optical and electronic devices are to monitor satellite traffic more intensively than before in order to observe own, European and international movements in space and to warn of dangers. More and more countries see space as an operating room. In the event of a military confrontation, there would probably also be clashes there. Countries like India and China have proven that they can also reach and shoot satellites with ballistic weapons, and satellites can also be targeted by cyber attacks.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer put an “Air and Space Operations Center”, or ASOC for short, into service on Monday on the Lower Rhine. “The space dimension must be taken into account more in the future,” said the minister during her visit. The largely lawless space, she said, must in future be better regulated by international agreements. The facility near Kalkar under the leadership of the Luftwaffe consists of an existing infrastructure of radar and telescope systems, established and new organizations. The air force’s space observers are currently housed in containers on the site, and a “space operations center” should be ready in spring 2022.

Military technology is used there in cooperation with civil engineering from the German aerospace industry. According to the Bundeswehr, the aim is to protect the critical space infrastructure on which Germany, with its highly networked economy and infrastructure, is “deeply dependent”. Another task of the ASOC is to provide early warning of objects entering the atmosphere – such as satellite debris. This affects not only the operators of the satellites, who can then react with course corrections, but also areas on earth where parts of it can be expected. The re-entry of the Starlink 56 satellite is currently being observed, although it is expected to burn up. The warnings go to regional police stations, which may receive calls from the population if celestial phenomena are observed such as the visible entry and the burning up of an old satellite.

100 new posts

There are currently around 2000 satellites in space, of which around 200 can be assigned to Germany, civil and military. After large systems were brought into orbit in the early days of space travel, today satellites are hardly larger than a refrigerator and weigh around 200 kilograms. Aviation experts anticipate a strong growth in space traffic in the future, “20,000 to 30,000 satellites in the coming years, according to the commander of the Center for Air Operations, Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer. The growing amount of so-called “space junk” poses a threat to your own satellites. These are parts of old systems that travel in space at up to 7 kilometers per second. German radar and optical systems can detect parts from a size of 5 to 10 centimeters in space. American systems, which are ten times more expensive, can capture even smaller parts.

The online flat rate: F +


The Air Operations Center for planning and conducting air operations for both the Air Force and NATO is already located in Kalkar. From there, all aircraft movements, civil and military, are observed. If, for example, air traffic control loses an aircraft from the radar or radio contact is lost, this is where action is taken. If the worst comes to the worst, one of the constantly on standby alarm groups will rise, two Eurofighters each. The Federal Police is also represented in the facility.

Around 1,600 military and civilian employees are employed in Kalkar, 250 of whom come from a total of 24 nations. Around 100 posts have now been added for the new tasks. Most of the structural prerequisites must first be created, investments for around 200 million euros are planned until 2028 in the Paulsberg air defense system and in the von Seydlitz barracks in Kalkar.

The newly configured air and space situation center is to monitor the events in space around the clock, as far as one can from Germany. The possibilities for this are limited, however, because Germany has no overseas territories or bases on which space observation systems could be installed. So it will continue to be heavily dependent on partners, especially the United States of America.

.

Russia wages war with Iran, Belarus and China: biggest military maneuver 2020 – politics abroad

Putin wages war!

The largest Russian military maneuver of the year has begun in the Caucasus. A total of 80,000 soldiers will be practicing war on a grand scale by Saturday – including soldiers from China, Pakistan, Belarus, Armenia and Myanmar.

And: The Iranian mullah regime is also involved with warships, as the Ministry of Defense announced to the Interfax agency on Monday.

Of course, it was said: “The exercise is not of an aggressive nature,” as Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said on Saturday before the official start at the Kapustin Yar training area in the Astrakhan region on the Volga.

But: Moscow defense politicians justify the exercise called “Caucasus 2020” propagandistically, speaking of a reaction to similar NATO exercises in the Russian neighborhood.

Last year, 128,000 soldiers and 20,000 military technical units took part in the “Center 2019” maneuver. During the “Vostok 2018” exercise (East 2018) there were still 300,000 soldiers – almost a third of the Russian army.

This exercise is now the biggest this year, albeit smaller than the one in previous years. Possible reason: Because of the corona pandemic, Russia had temporarily held back with military maneuvers and asked NATO to also reduce its exercises.

Russian and Belarusian paratroopers during a military exercise five kilometers from the Belarusian-Polish border Photo: Uncredited / dpa

About 250 tanks and more than 600 other combat technology units, including artillery systems, would be brought up. Among the many involved are technical staff and civil defense employees. Observers were also present from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Indonesia, as the General Staff announced.

The General Staff emphasized that most of the troop deployment would take place inside the country. This will improve the cooperation between the participating states and the joint action of soldiers. In total, the action extends to 14 positions, including those in the Black and Caspian Seas, it said.

Objective: To simulate military operations in solving armed conflicts in connection with the fight against terrorism.

Among the many involved are technical staff and civil defense employees. About 250 tanks and more than 600 other combat technology units, including artillery systems, would be brought up. Observers were also present from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Indonesia, as the General Staff announced.

.

Homosexuals in the Bundeswehr: Dishonorable discharge

Up until 2000, homosexuals were blocked from pursuing a career in the Bundeswehr. Now the minister apologizes.

Solemn pledge by naval soldiers in Berlin Photo: Mika Schmidt

BERLIN taz | The Bundeswehr destroyed Dierk Koch’s dreams in autumn 1964. The Hamburg native, then in his early 20s, wanted to become a seaman. In the navy he had signed up as a regular soldier, after having passed a course he was to be transferred to the frigate Emden shortly. “There was a rumor that Emden would soon accompany the Gorch Fock to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I was on cloud nine, ”he recalls.

But nothing came of the trip, and neither did the career plans: Shortly before the transfer, the site commander informed the prospective seaman that he was not going to the frigate after all, but to the office. A few weeks later he was finally informed that he was being demoted to a seaman and dishonorable discharge from the Navy. He had to leave the barracks within 48 hours. The reason for all of this: a brief affair with another soldier.

“Can you imagine how I felt?” Asks Koch almost sixty years later. “I just didn’t believe it.”

Koch talked about the weeks in autumn 1964 on Thursday evening during a panel discussion in the Berlin Ministry of Defense. It is not an isolated case: For decades, homosexual, especially gay soldiers in the Bundeswehr were institutionally discriminated against. The event in the presence of Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and high-ranking generals will be about their fates. The occasion: the publication of the study “Tabu und Toleranz”, in which the lieutenant colonel and military historian Klaus Storkmann examined the treatment of homosexuals from 1955 to 2000.

The practice that this study describes is shameful, says Kramp-Karrenbauer right at the beginning of the event. “The Bundeswehr’s stance on homosexuality was wrong, even if it was in line with the zeitgeist of the time.” To make amends, she announced a draft law: She wanted to overturn military court judgments for consensual homosexual acts. Those affected by institutional discrimination should be rehabilitated. Anyone who was disadvantaged because of their homosexuality should receive a lump sum compensation payment.

No career until 2000

The practice of discrimination was divided into different phases, which the Bundeswehr study describes in detail on the basis of archive research and interviews with contemporary witnesses. Until 1969, a total prohibition of sexual acts between men was still in force in West German criminal law under Paragraph 175. Analogous to this, according to the study, “until the late 1960s, those homosexuals who ‘had become conspicuous’ were generally discharged from the armed forces”.

Even after paragraph 175 was relaxed, military courts initially still condemned gay soldiers for consensual sex with one another. Until 1979, homosexuality remained a general reason for withdrawal. Due to a lack of personnel – the low birth cohorts met an increasing number of conscientious objectors – the Bundeswehr then relaxed this rule as well. Those affected were still not allowed to pursue a career in the army: up until the year 2000, homosexuals were considered useless for training or management tasks. Gay officers had to hide their sexual orientation.

“Many contemporary witnesses also report that regardless of the regulations (…) the tolerance in the troops was actually much greater,” writes Storkmann in his study. In fact, his research testifies to a certain ambivalence in everyday life: on the one hand, contemporary witnesses tell of stupid sayings, insults, taboos and games of hide and seek. It is said of a gay soldier who began his basic military service in 1998: “He, who otherwise lives so self-confidently gay, did not want to be known in the barracks as a gay. The mimesis went so far that he stuck posters of naked pin-up girls in his locker. “

On the other hand, Storkmann also collected examples of tolerance and solidarity among soldiers. For example, the report of a gay soldier who was promoted to sergeant in the 1970s, “although his homosexual orientation in the company and battalion (…) was generally known”. He had “never experienced discrimination in six years in the Bundeswehr, nothing, nothing at all: no insults, no punishments, not even bad words”. He was insulted homophobically only once in the dining room. His comrades would have defended him immediately, first with words, then with their fists.

Scharping gave in

However, external impetus was needed to end the discrimination. In 1998 a train driver was withdrawn from his post because of his homosexuality. He went to court and filed a constitutional complaint, the Federal Constitutional Court asked the red-green federal government to comment. The first draft of the reply, in which the decision was justified, met with skepticism in individual departments of the Ministry of Defense as well as in other ministries.

Times and values ​​had changed, and at the European level there were also initial judgments in favor of homosexual soldiers. After initial hesitation, Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping (SPD) finally gave in, anticipating a ruling from Karlsruhe and announcing the full opening of the Bundeswehr to homosexuals – and, as the study shows, against the will of the military leadership.

Twenty years later, the attitude has also changed at the top of the Bundeswehr. In the Defense Ministry, Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said on Thursday that the Bundeswehr is now “institutionally well positioned” when it comes to homosexuality. Now it is a matter of “the superiors at all levels implement these things” and “also show tolerance to the outside world”.

“A lot has happened”

Since 2016, the Ministry of Defense has had its own staff unit for diversity and equal opportunities. The Bundeswehr tries to present itself as an attractive employer for homosexuals. Coming to terms with one’s own history of discrimination is part of these efforts. The QueerBW working group, an association of LGBTI people in the Bundeswehr, is very satisfied with this development. “A lot has happened in the last few years,” says Sven Bäring, chairman of the organization, on the podium.

The 25-year-old says he has only heard discriminatory sayings twice in seven years of service. But he can also understand how gay soldiers were doing up until the year 2000: Even in basic training he thought it made more sense to keep his homosexuality to himself. “I went through that in the basic training,” says Bäring. “That’s a lot of pressure.”

.

Links to right-wing extremists: Soldier under suspicion of terrorism

In Neubrandenburg, the police searched the house of a soldier. According to taz research, it is a martial artist.

The SEK searched the house of a soldier in Sponholz because of links to right-wing extremists Photo: Felix Gadewolz / dpa

BERLIN taz | SEK deployment on Monday morning in Sponholz near Neubrandenburg: Around 70 officers from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania police search the living and office space of a house directly on the B96. A security company has its headquarters here. And a soldier lives here who is being investigated for preparing a serious state-endangering act of violence. Suspicion of terrorism.

According to taz information, the soldier is called Matthias D., is 40 years old and stationed in the Tollense barracks in Neubrandenburg. This is the location of the 41st Panzer Grenadier Brigade. According to an older local newspaper report, he has been to Afghanistan several times in the past to train a special unit there. According to Nordkurier D. is currently working for a security company that is not in his name.

The Rostock public prosecutor announced that the search was mainly carried out using electronic media in order to substantiate or refute the suspicion. The public prosecutor’s spokesman, Harald Nowack, did not want to say how the suspect was supposed to have planned to endanger public safety. Just this much: Don’t assume that the accused is part of a group. Nor that there is or was any danger to the population.

Rather, the plans are said to have been directed against individuals who are, however, active in security-related positions. “It’s not about a specific number of people who should be attacked by him. It’s about individual people, ”Nowack told taz. And: “It can sometimes be that you are a little big of age.” It could therefore be that the suspect was not aware of the seriousness of certain statements.

Nickname “Odin”

A spokeswoman for the MAD told the taz that the searches on Monday were also preceded by extensive investigations by the military counter-intelligence service and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The accused Matthias D. has been a martial artist for a Rostock martial arts club for many years. In the past, D. also offered self-defense courses for children. The former kickboxing world champion entered the ring under the name “Odin” at an annual martial arts event organized by the La Familia Fightclub in Halle an der Saale. Well-known right-wing extremists and organized neo-Nazis can also be found among the participants.

D. also competes for the First Fight Team Neubrandenburg. In the past, this was repeatedly noticed due to right-wing extremist activities by its members. The head coach of the martial arts club is Ronny S., the security company in D’s house is registered under the same surname.

A spokesman for the Tollense barracks told the taz that they would first wait for the investigation before deciding on drastic disciplinary measures, such as a ban on wearing a uniform. The person concerned will not continue to perform his service for the time being.

.

Lots of questions about the new assault rifle

Mith astonishment and the request to provide details on the decision, MPs of the coalition and the opposition reacted to the proposal of the Defense Ministry to succeed the German armed forces assault rifle. The decision was made in favor of a small company in Suhl, Thuringia, which belongs to an armaments group from the United Arab Emirates. The company CG Haenel, which according to information from financial service providers only has a few employees, was unable to provide any details on Wednesday about its successful assault rifle, which had won against two models from the manufacturer Heckler & Koch. Inquiries to CG Haenel were received by the “Merkel Jagd- und Sportwaffen GmbH”, also based in Suhl.

The Greens MP Tobias Lindner said: “This is a surprising decision.” The ministry must “explain to Parliament in a comprehensible manner what led to this selection”. Linder asked the editorial network in Germany: “It must be clear that the provider is reliable. The repair must be guaranteed for the next 30 years. In the event of bankruptcy, it must be ensured that the Bundeswehr can take over the license. “The SPD defense politician Thomas Hitschler told the FAZ:” Our soldiers need the best possible rifle. Without compromises. The ministry must now ensure that the award is so legally secure that a further delay can be ruled out. “

The losing bidder Heckler & Koch has announced legal action against the award. In this connection, FDP MP Alexander Müller complained about the expected delay. “That slows down the entire procurement process and delays delivery to the troops. In this case, the procurement law would have to be changed in such a way that claims by the unsuccessful bidders can no longer revise the award decision; That would speed up the procurement for our troops considerably! “

.

Lots of questions about Haenel’s new assault rifle

Mith astonishment and the request to provide details on the decision, MPs of the coalition and the opposition reacted to the selection proposal of the Ministry of Defense for the successor to the German armed forces’ assault rifle. The decision was made in favor of a small company in Suhl, Thuringia, which belongs to an armaments group from the United Arab Emirates. The company CG Haenel, which according to information from financial service providers has only a few employees, was unable to provide any details on Wednesday about its successful assault rifle, which had won against two models from the manufacturer Heckler & Koch. Inquiries to CG Haenel were received by the “Merkel Jagd- und Sportwaffen GmbH”, also based in Suhl.

The Green MP Tobias Lindner said: “This is a surprising decision.” The ministry must “explain to Parliament in a comprehensible manner what led to this selection”. Linder asked the editorial network in Germany: “It must be clear that the provider is reliable. The repair must be guaranteed for the next 30 years. In the event of bankruptcy, it must be ensured that the Bundeswehr can take over the license. “The SPD defense politician Thomas Hitschler told the FAZ:” Our soldiers need the best possible rifle. Without compromises. The ministry must now ensure that the award is so legally secure that a further delay can be ruled out. “

The losing bidder Heckler & Koch has announced legal action against the award. In this connection, FDP MP Alexander Müller complained about the expected delay. “That slows down the entire procurement process and delays delivery to the troops. In this case, the procurement law would have to be changed in such a way that lawsuits by the unsuccessful bidders can no longer revise the award decision, but instead only have a claim to compensation if the lawsuit is won. That would speed up the procurement for our troops considerably! “

.