More Evidence Merkel NSA Spying A Distraction……German Army and Intelligence Service Complicit in US Drone Killings

Posted: January 6, 2015 in Society and Culture, War Is The New Economy

SEE ALSO:  Germany’s Deep Cooperation with the NSA

SEE ALSO: Legal Loophole Allows German Government to Spy on Own Citizens


German army and intelligence service complicit in US drone killings


By Johannes Stern
5 January 2015

The Germany army (Bundeswehr) and Federal Intelligence Service (BND) were much more involved in America’s illegal drone war in Afghanistan than previously known. This is the conclusion arising from a December 1 report in the Bild newspaper, based on “numerous secret documents” compiled by the Bundeswehr and the BND.

The documents reveal that Major General Markus Kneip, who led the German contingent of ISAF troops in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013, personally selected “individual targets” for the US military program of “targeted killings”. For its part, the BND was aware that this “information could be used to kill or torture Taliban leaders”.

According to the Bild, the documents prove the existence of a so-called “Target Support Cell” operating as part of the German regional command in Mazar-e-Sharif, under the direction of a German lieutenant colonel. Its mission: “To gather information for nominating potential individual targets.” Furthermore, German soldiers were tasked with creating so-called “target files … to be presented to the commander for approval.”

The newspaper also cites the classified secret minutes of a meeting which took place in May 2011 involving Kneip. The interview protocol documents the discussion in NATO and ISAF circles about the “nominations” for targeted killings. At the meeting, Kneip declared that the “arrest or neutralization” of an insurgent named Kari Hafiz was a “priority”.

Other documents make clear that the BND also provided information to carry out targeted killings. On 26 August 2011, the BND sent a report on Taliban leader Kari Yusuf to allied NATO countries. The report contained both Yusuf’s telephone numbers and the number he had been allocated on the US’ “death list”.

The BND was aware that its data could be used by the US or UK to carry out “targeted killing, or capture and torture” of suspects. In one paragraph, the report requested that the “submitted data” not be used “as a basis or justification for unreasonable measures (i.e. torture as stipulated by article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture) …”. Other passages, however, state that a targeted killing is allowed under certain conditions, i.e.: “the use of lethal force is only permissible if and when an attack is taking place or is imminent.”

The revelations by the Bild newspaper are highly explosive. They show that the German ruling class is involved at the highest level in the illegal war and torture practices conducted by the United States. Kneip is currently head of the department “Strategy and Deployment” at the Ministry of Defence and is one of the closest associates of Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU). He is regarded as a candidate for the post of Inspector General of the Bundeswehr.

According to the Bild, the Ministry of Defence and the BND have failed to respond to questions from the newspaper “about their operations”. This is not surprising. If the government took seriously international law and its own statements then it would be obliged to prosecute those responsible.

In January 2014, a parliamentary report stated that it was “undisputed” that Germany could not tolerate “illegal military operations” carried out “by foreign countries from German territory”. If the US military illegally executes a terrorist suspect by drone, “remote from an armed conflict”, this could “represent participation in a crime according to international law” should the government be cognizant and not object to it.

It is now clear that, far from merely “declining to object”, the military forces at the disposal of the German government—the army and the BND—were complicit in precisely such “illegal acts”.

It remains unclear why the Bild newspaper—a rabid supporter of German imperialism—has brought the secret documents to light. The newspaper writes that it had long refrained from revealing the contents of the “explosive documents” in order “not to unnecessarily endanger soldiers’ lives”. The official end of the German combat role in Afghanistan, however, meant that it was “now possible to document the historically transformed role of the Bundeswehr and BND in the targeted hunt for terrorists”.



Germany to drop probe into US spying on Merkel
Germany is dropping a probe into alleged US eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone conversations
  (AFP Photo/Kay Nietfeld)

Berlin (AFP) – Germany is dropping a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by US spies, due to a lack of evidence, magazine Focus said Saturday.

Six months after the investigation began, the experts have failed to find any solid proof to back the case, and have therefore recommended that it be dropped, the magazine reported, quoting sources close to the German justice ministry.

“The result (of the probe) is almost zilch. A lot of hot air, but nothing done,” one source was quoted as saying.

According to sources close to the judiciary, the federal prosecutor will heed the experts’ recommendation to drop the probe.

In June, German justice had announced that a case had been opened into the alleged spying by foreign intelligence services on German soil.

Documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showing rampant spying on German citizens’ telephone conversations and Internet exchanges had sparked outrage in the European country.

Privacy issues are particularly sensitive in Germany, as bitterness lingers over mass state spying on citizens by the Stasi secret police in former communist East Germany where Merkel grew up.


Remeber this lie?
Obama knew of NSA spying on Merkel and approved it, report says

President Barack Obama knew of the organization’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel – and approved of the efforts, a National Security Agency official has reportedly told a German newspaper.

The Economic Times writes the “high-ranking” NSA official spoke to Bild am Sonntag on the condition of anonymity, saying the president, “not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.”

The Economic Times also reports the official told Bild am Sonntag that Obama did not trust Merkel, wanted to know everything about her, and thus ordered the NSA to prepare a dossier on the politician.

The account could mean difficulties for the White House, given another report claiming Obama told Merkel during a telephone conversation last Wednesday he was not aware of the NSA’s spying.

The Economic Times cited Frankfuter Allgemeine Zeitung in writing that when Merkel called Obama last week to alternately complain — and get an explanation — about the NSA surveillance, the president assured her he wasn’t aware of the campaign regarding her, and would have halted it, had he known.

According to The New York Times, Susan E. Rice, the president’s national security adviser, insisted that Obama did not know about the monitoring of Merkel’s phone, during a call last week with Christoph Heusgen, Rice’s German counterpart.

The unnamed NSA official’s allegations delve deeper into a Saturday report, published by the German magazine Der Spiegel, claiming the U.S. spy agency has monitored Merkel’s phone since 2002, or even before she rose to her country’s chief executive position and was only an opposition leader.

The revelations follow earlier reports of the NSA monitoring phone calls made by French and German citizens, an account prompting both nations’ foreign ministries to summon the respective American ambassadors to each country for an explanation.  Much — if not all — of the reporting on the alleged spying scandal stems from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden.

According to the Associated Press, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted Sunday as telling newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants “complete information on all accusations” and that “if the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil.” He added wiretapping is a crime and “those responsible must be held accountable.”

The Der Spiegel report also alleges the German leader’s mobile phone number had been part of a special surveillance list used by the NSA as late as this past June.  Der Spiegel writes the nature of the alleged monitoring isn’t clear, or whether Merkel’s conversations were recorded or her contacts scrutinized.


Proved an Excellent Distraction For This….


German base provides satellite link for US drones
05 April 2014 Saturday
German base provides satellite link for US drones

Former drone operator Brandon Bryant made a statement to the media saying that the US depended on the German base to run the drone program which would otherwise be ineffective.

World Bulletin / News Desk

A special report in the German public media revealed that Germany has been co-operating with the US in its drone program.

The NDR television network and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper revealed that the US was using a satellite link at Germany’s Ramstein air base to coordinate drone attack throughout the world.

Former drone operator Brandon Bryant made a statement to the media saying that the US depended on the German base to run the drone program which would otherwise be ineffective.

Bryant also admitted killing an estimated 1,626 people in combat during his six years working as a drone sensor operator for the US air force.


Germany accused of aiding US drone strikes

22.Oct .2013

By Martin Koch / ilm

Amnesty International raises a serious accusation, saying deadly US drone attacks in Pakistan are conducted with German help. Experts fear things are actually a lot worse.

The US defends its drone attacks as “precise and effective.” But now a report by Amnesty International about the deadly US drone attacks raises serious questions about civilian deaths. It also suggests German intelligence helped provide the US with targeting data.

Even for experts on the issue it’s difficult to determine whether the allegations about German involvement are true. German Greens member of parliament Hans-Christian Ströbele said that whenever he requested information on the matter from the government in the past he only ever got evasive answers. “They did, however, say that they do provide information, but not for shoot-to-kill operations. But the government cannot be sure that the information it provides doesn’t also get used for such operations.”

Marcel Dickow

Dickow believes Ammesty was justified in releasing the report

German responsibility

Marcel Dickow of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) confirmed to DW that it is practically impossible to check whether intelligence provided by a country’s secret service is in fact correct. It is in the very nature of such data that the information is classified and will remain so.

According the report, Amnesty found out about the German involvement in the drone strikes from former Pakistani intelligence members.

Dickow still thinks the NGO did the right thing. “Amnesty used that information – and I think they were justified in doing that – in order to show that there is a hidden war, a war that raises many questions with regards to international law. And with regards to Germany being – in part – responsible in light of the international cooperation of intelligence agencies.”

International law says that it is illegal for a country to use lethal weapons against another country it is not at war with, said Reiner Braun, head of the German wing of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA). He said that the possibility that German intelligence had a part in the US breaking international law illustrates the worldwide extent of spying as revealed through the NSA leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

New legal terrain

Reiner Braun

Braun hopes there will be broad public debate on the matter

The accusations that German agencies had provided information to the US is not new. German Interior Ministry spokesman Jens Teschke confirmed to DW that there have been several lawsuits on the matter, one of them against Jörg Ziercke, head of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). But the courts rejected the cases due to lack of reasonable suspicion, Teschke said.

People gather near the wreckage of a car destroyed by a U.S. drone air strike (photo: Khaled Abdullah)

US drones are used in places like Afghanista, Pakistan and (here pictured) Yemen

According to Braun, the ball is now in the court of the German judiciary. In light of the NSA scandal and the possible involvement of German intelligence in the controversial US drone strikes, there was need for a new look at any actions that might be in violation of international law. “So far, courts have dealt with this very selectively and subjectively. I think it’s now a question whether this can continue in light of the dimensions the cases have taken.”

From a legal perspective, it’s an interesting case, says Braun. Judicial accountability could play a role in the current public debate and could in turn be influenced by it. But first and foremost, there’s something else that needs to be in the focus, he stresses: “The first aspect is always the human one and every victim is one victim too many.”

Warfare 2.0

Drones are unmanned planes. For many experts, their use is therefore an entirely new form of warfare: They are controlled by computers that can be located thousands of kilometers away – but for the targets on the ground they are a very real and immediate danger.

Hans-Christian Ströbele (photo: Markus Hibbeler/dapd)

Ströbele says there should be a UN convention against drones

“This leads on to killer robots; armed and autonomously acting robots that we will have in the next 10 to 30 years,” Dickow describes the future development. This would raise new legal but also ethical and political questions, he thinks, adding that the public discussion about the US drone attacks in Pakistan could be the trigger for a wider debate on the issue.

A spiral of arms devlopment

The use of drones points to an alarming development. “There are now 12 to 15 countries who have the technology. In ten years it will be 80 countries,” Reiner Braun said. And he warns that the retaliation – for instance suicide attacks – will be just as brutal and deadly; only it will be on the ground, locally, far away from those who control the drones.

That’s why there has to be a serious effort to get out of the spiral of arms development and violence, he urges. “In our opinion, the crucial step is an anti-drones convention by the United Nations where countries agree to abandon this modern technological warfare.”

Ströbele backs this demand and points out that there are already such agreements on cluster bombs and weapons of mass destruction. He says it was crucial not to develop this technology any further – and that applies to possible drones for the German military. “For if you have the option to use a weapon, people will use it – that’s the way it has always been with regards to arms.”

SOURCE: Merkel NSA Fake Spying Campaign A Success


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