HAMBURG/BERLIN (Own report) - An "absolute success" is how the Foreign Ministry (AA) considers the preparations in Hamburg of operations for interfering in international traffic routes in violation of international law. At the invitation of the German government representatives of 37 European nations participated in exercises within the framework of a "Proliferation Security Initiative" (PSI). Germany is a co-founder of the PSI. This association of organizations presumptuously usurps the right to arbitrarily impinge upon the freedom of movement of the worldwide road, rail and air traffic to apply limitations and to inspect cargoes particularly on the high seas - allegedly as a protection against weapons of mass destruction. This initiative is being accused of being in conflict with international law. The German military is demanding that the government "fully participate" in the PSI operations. The German military is conceded the power of combat engagement - without a parliamentary mandate.


The arbitrary control of international commerce routes without legitimization by the United Nations is forbidden under international law. This is why the participating governments (Germany, France, Great Britain and 14 other states of the western hemisphere [1]) are attempting through the use of "creative" measures to amend or circumvent the current legal norms.[2] Even "preventive" operations carried out against persons and organizations, who, according to the political judgement of PSI members, are thought to be "promoting" commerce with weapons of mass destruction, are to be permitted. Since the focus is upon the planning of the subversive use of force, which is irrelevant from the standpoint of international law, military and secret service activities are required. Therefore the member states have decided to respectively broaden their cooperation.[3] If applied, The obviously - if applied - illegal PSI plans labeled "prevention exercises" are imposing restrictions on persons or transports in question without their having recourse to justice. Germany and the rest of the PSI states want to levy corresponding dictates solely on the basis of their power to do so. A so-called "purely civilian" "prevention exercise" was carried out last year at the Frankfurt Airport. Through the military sector of the airport, individuals were deported and delivered into the hands of the US "war on terror" torture system.[4]

Regional Component

There were 186 participants, coming from 37 European countries, at the meeting in Hamburg (Nov. 24 - 26) - specialists of the PSI "Operational Experts Group" including representatives of defense and foreign ministries. Additional guests on the lists of participants were classified as "experts" in the domain of export control, customs and intelligence services. Their "networking" was successfully advanced, the Foreign Ministry confirmed to german-foreign-policy.com. At the exercises in Hamburg, the participants became "more operative". A closer description was refused. With the largest meeting of the initiative currently to have taken place, the German government would like to lend the PSI activities "a regional component" and in so doing, document its claim to leadership in the control of particularly the European sea routes.[5] Germany, as "one of the leading commerce nations", is integrated in the planetary commerce particularly through maritime traffic, is the justification furnished by the government advisors in the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Alongside the growth in the volume of maritime participation, is also the growth in the responsibility of insuring that, within one's zone of influence, maritime traffic is not being "misused". PSI offers an "appropriate platform for dealing properly with this responsibility."[6]


With a prominent German participation, the western state association is working out legal constructs that would lend the intended surveillance activities a semblance of legitimacy. An "Amendment protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA) Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation" was adopted October 14. In this protocol the conference of the International Maritime Organization extended the so-called SUA Convention of 1998 to include politically defined infractions. The newly created "intervention clause for countering danger" allows the powerful states to intervene - even in shipping routes outside their territorial jurisdictions - to inspect and, if necessary, to interrupt the continuation of the transport.[7] The respective assessment of the danger, is at the arbitrary discretion of the world powers and could lead, at the moment, to the piratical interruption of shipping to and from Iran, with the alleged justification of countering the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Similar practice is being already experienced in international shipping lanes in the Mediterranean and around the Horn of Africa, where German naval units, in collaboration with NATO forces, are, without authorization, carrying out inspections on the high seas.[8]

Practice Oriented

The obvious illegality has in the meantime reached the German parliament and is being commented on in complicated parliamentarian formulations. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) judges that the PSI is a "practice oriented means of action, outside the formal structures of international law". The distance from international law, that is being admitted to here, appears to be of little problem to the parliamentarians. They are more worried about domestically safeguarding these obviously dictatorial practices.[9] The PSI can be reassured, "creativity" is in action, according to the initiative.[10]

Full Participation

The German Military is also demanding creativity in legislation, that will offer them legal security in their perpetual interventions on the high seas and will eliminate the German "enforcement vacuum".[11] Already last year at the "Berlin Colloquium 2004" [12] sponsored by the Clausewitz-Gesellschaft [13] and the Federal Academy of Security Policy, it was demanded that Germany overcome its legalistic qualms concerning the PSI and give "full participation" to the initiative.[14] The newly elected government has already announced that, within the framework of the "Sea Security Law," [15] mentioned in the contract between the two parties forming the coalition government, it would permit and, if necessary, regulate the "intervention of the German military in the maritime war on terror".[16]

A Free Hand

The spokesman for domestic policy of the Social Democratic parliamentary group, Dieter Wiefelspütz, reassured, that concerning German PSI interventions, there will be no embarrassing questions and objections to worry about from the parliament. These are "actions of a more policing character," explained Wiefelspütz in the current issue of the "Wehrrecht" magazine. Concerning a similar operation, already in 1997, the German government and parliament ruled that parliamentary participation in decisions allowing for such actions is constitutionally required. At that time, German citizens were evacuated from Albania in a military operation ("Operation Dragonfly). The domestic policy speaker of the government party explains that these standards are outdated and concedes to the military a wide-ranging empowerment: "policing interventions, carried out by the armed forces on the high seas (...) do not require the approval of the German parliament."[17]

[1] PSI-Mitgliedsstaaten sind: Australien, Dänemark, Deutschland, Frankreich, Großbritannien, Italien, Japan, Kanada, Niederlande, Norwegen, Polen, Portugal, Russland, Singapur, Spanien, Türkei, USA.
[2] see also Arms traffic (I)
[3] see also Verkehrskontrolle
[4] see also Berlin is keeping quiet and Where is Haydar Zammar?
[5] Treffen der Proliferation Security Initiative in Hamburg, 24.-26. November 2005. Sicherheitsinitiative zur Unterbindung der Verbreitung von Massenvernichtungswaffen; www.auswaertiges-amt.de
[6] Die Unterbindung des Seetransports von Massenvernichtungswaffen. Völkerrechtliche Aspekte der "Proliferation Security Initiative" SWP-Studie 2004/S 19, Mai 2004; www.swp-berlin.org
[7] Bundesregierung zeichnet Protokoll zur Verhinderung von illegalen Seetransporten von Massenvernichtungswaffen; www.auswaertiges-amt.de 17.10.2005
[8] see also Deutsche Marine vor Gibraltar
[9] Deutsche Beteiligung an der Proliferationssicherheitsinitiative Proliferation Security Initiative; Bundestags-Drucksache 15/2310 www.bundestag.de
[10] Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), Brisbane Meeting, 9-10 July 2003. Chairman's Statement; www.dfat.gov.au
[11] see also Expeditionen
[12] see also Tradition und Transformation
[13] Die Clausewitz-Gesellschaft ist eine der zahlreichen "Denkfabriken" der Bundeswehr.
[14] Professor Dr. jur. Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg: Völkerrecht und Gewalt. In: Äußere und Innere Sicherheit. Grundlagen - Erfahrungen - Perspektiven, Schriftenreihe der Clausewitz-Gesellschaft e.V. Heft 5, August 2004; www.clausewitz-gesellschaft.de
[15] see also Offensive und Klarstellung
[16] Regierung will nationale Küstenwache; Welt am Sonntag 27.11.2005
[17] Ausdrücklich genannt werden "die Wahrnehmung der Flaggenhoheit, der Schutz der deutschen Handelsmarine gegenüber kriminellen Angriffen auf hoher See, die Nacheile, die Bekämpfung der Piraterie und des Sklavenhandels und vergleichbare Operationen". Dieter Wiefelspütz: Bewaffnete Einsätze der Bundeswehr auf See; Neue Zeitschrift für Wehrrecht (NZWehrr) 2005 Heft 4, S. 146 ff; www.deutsches-wehrrecht.de