To Corner

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - With his resolute plea for German Army (Bundeswehr) intervention in the domestic affairs of the country, the Minister of Defense, Franz-Josef Jung, (CDU) is advancing strategies of the German military elite (the "strategic community"). He announced last weekend that the Air Force could be ordered to shoot down hijacked passenger jet liners - if necessary in violation of the German Constitution. This demand corresponds to considerations being advanced since some time by the Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik in Berlin (BAKS, Federal College for Security Studies) which include also plans to alter "essential sections" of the Constitution. To reach this objective, the BAKS has been working for years to establish a network in the various ministries, enterprises and the media. And the chancellery is helping. President Horst Köhler is supportive of these activities. On September 14 at the Bundeswehr’s Leadership Academy, in Hamburg, he demanded hat the military elite intervene more than previously in debates on German security policy and "efficiently corner the leadership personnel of the state, the economy and the society". Berlin's projects would signify a radical militarization of life in the society.

Extra-Legal State of Emergency

Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung announced on the weekend, he would issue the order - even in violation of the law - to shoot down a hijacked passenger airliner. In the case of imminent "danger to public safety" Jung alleged that, "other rules take precedence," and referred to an alleged "law of extra-legal state of emergency".[1] The defense minister reported that he had already taken the appropriate steps during last year's the Soccer World Championship games and made a selection of air force military personnel. Accordingly pilots had been kept on alert, who, in spite of the "complicated legal question,"[2] were willing to carry out the order to down a jetliner. It is suspected that during this year's G8 summit meeting, the "Tornado" fighter pilots, called into action over Heiligendamm, were chosen in accordance to similar criteria.

Comprehensive

The resolute terms, "all or not at all", with which Jung described the legalization of domestic intervention of the German military, is a reflection of pressure from so-called security policy officials in Berlin. In a document published during the summer by BAKS, a conceptual framework was sketched, in which it was stated that now "unambiguous constitutional regulations" are needed for military operations within German territorial borders.[3] This is based on concepts, that maintain that, in the current global conflicts, for example, the so-called War on Terror, "the borderlines between domestic and foreign, military and police, economics and politics, even between war and peace become blurred."[4] Three years ago the President of BAKS, Rudolf Adam, declared that "In front of this backdrop, we understand security in the broadest, comprehensive and preventive sense of the term."[5] Military intervention within German borders is an aspect of the extension of state control and repression in wide-ranging sectors of the life of the society.

Networks

To put through their demands and to insure the practical application of their concepts, BAKS has systematically set up networks within ministerial bureaucracies, business enterprises (preferably in the arms industry) and the media. Selected "cadres" were trained in "Security Policy Seminars" for over a six-month period. According to BAKS, employees of several ministries, representatives of EADS (the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) and Rheinmetall, an employee of the development organization InWEnt (Capacity Building International, Germany) as well as an editor of the public television second channel's Berlin studio attended the last "Security Policy Seminar". BAKS explains that the seminars establish "long-term relationships between policy makers, in outstanding positions of responsibility in federal and regional ministries and decisive representatives of the economy and public figures."[6]

Central Role

According to BAKS' internal guidelines, the "concerted establishment of contacts" must be carefully groomed, to insure the incorporation of those who participated in the seminar into a so-called "strategic community."[7] The chancellery, which selects the seminar participants, is the most prominent organ of the state in this elite military circle. A clear indication of the other represented milieus in the "strategic community" can be seen from the career of BAKS' president, Rudolf Adam. Adam was originally in the diplomatic service. Preceding his taking office as president of BAKS, he had been the vice president of the German Foreign Intelligence Service (BND). The representatives of these bodies are brought together in BAKS with Bundeswehr representatives, so that foreign policy and intelligence service interests are concentrated in a single pool of influence - under military predominance. The purpose of this "community" is to be able to directly participate in the political decision making process through lobbying in the Chancellery. The "framework for a ministry-overlapping security policy," developed by the participants in the BAKS' seminars, was recently presented to the Chancellery. That presentation is not only calling for the intervention of the Bundeswehr in domestic affairs, but also for the use of NGOs and scholars in so-called security complexes (german-foreign-policy.com reported).[8]

Media

The widening of military influence is also directed at journalists. Alongside the Leadership Academy of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg and other German military institutions such as the Academy for Information and Communication (AIK) in Strausberg,[9] BAKS has instituted "forums" for members of the media, editors and head editors. The last meeting started last Wednesday, Sept. 19. The Federal Leadership Academy also bestows a "Karl Carstens Award" to "persons from the German-speaking realm (...) who reach a wider public with a comprehensive understanding of security policy themes." Just a few days ago, BAKS President, Rudolf Adam, granted the award to Helmut Markwort, editor in chief of the news magazine, FOCUS, whose most recent edition received wide attention because it contained the interview with Franz-Josef Jung. The defense minister resolutely called for the legalization of domestic Bundeswehr intervention.

Great Service

In front of this backdrop, the comments of the German president, calling for a further enhancement of the "strategic community" deserve to be taken seriously. Horst Köhler declared on September 13, before the Leadership Academy in Hamburg, that he hopes to see an even stronger participation of "high ranking officers of the Bundeswehr" in the development of German foreign and security policy. "You should efficiently corner (...) the leadership personnel of the state, the economy and the society" he admonished the soldiers in the audience. "With this, you will be doing our country a great service."[10]

[1], [2] "Ich würde den Befehl geben"; Focus 17.09.2007
[3] see also Strategic Community
[4], [5] Rudolf Adam: Ansprache Abschluss 12. Kernseminar 2004, Berlin, 25. Juni 2004
[6] Seminar für Sicherheitspolitik 2007: Asymmetrien als Herausforderung. Rahmenkonzept für eine ressortübergreifende Sicherheitspolitik, Berlin, Juni 2007
[7], [8] see also Strategic Community
[9] see also Neues Steuerungsniveau, Filmrezension: Gesteuerte Demokratie? and Journalisten-Forum
[10] Rede beim Festakt aus Anlass des fünfzigjährigen Bestehens der Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr; Hamburg 14.09.2007