With Military Means

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is legalizing the use of "military means" in domestic affairs. As was jointly announced on Monday, Oct. 6 by the Ministries of Justice and the Interior, Berlin's government coalition parties have agreed to amend Article 35 of the German Constitution. According to this agreement, the German Bundeswehr will be allowed to operate on German territory - on land, at sea and in the airspace, in otherwise unspecified "particularly serious cases". This intervention can be carried out under cabinet orders, or - in case of an "emergency" - under the sole orders of the Minister of Defense. This promotes the dissolution of the separation of powers between military, police and intelligence agencies that previously had been urged principally between police and intelligence activities. Just a few days ago, reports disclosed the extent of the cooperation between the Federal Criminal Investigation Agency (BKA), the Federal Police and the domestic and foreign intelligence agencies. The BKA bill, due to be passed soon, is being heavily criticized for its violations of the constitutional separation of powers imperative. A recent publication exposes the current extent of the cooperation between the police and the military. Cooperation and a comprehensive blending of the various branches of Germany's repressive organs, on the domestic and foreign fronts, permit a flexible combat of potential civil disorder around the world.

All Branches of the Military

To legalize military operations inside the country, the German government is preparing to pass an amendment to Article 35 of the German Constitution. This article, which lays the legal groundwork for administrative assistance and aid in times of catastrophe, is to be amended with an additional two paragraphs. According to the bill "if the means at the disposal of the police prove insufficient to ward off threats in particularly serious cases, the federal government can order the armed forces to use military means." The federal government has command authority over the regional state governments. In cases of "imminent danger" the defense minister would be authorized to order a military intervention. According to reports, an "incident" need not have taken place nor be of imminent danger of taking place, merely an "indication" of an attack is sufficient.[1] Evidently there will be no limitation on the "military means." Accordingly all branches of the military under Bundeswehr command can be called into action inside the country. A parliamentary decision to this effect is not necessary.

A Bygone

Berlin is advancing the dissolution of the separation of powers between military, police and foreign intelligence by opening the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany to operations by the German armed forces. Already back in July 2007 Chancellor Merkel explained that the separation between domestic and foreign repression is "a bygone".[2] Other than in the case of the Air Safety Law, whose Bundeswehr paragraph (Art. 14 Para. 3) was annulled two years ago by the Constitutional Court,[3] the competence of police forces has been widened. The most recent example is the BKA Bill, soon to be passed into law. This provides the BKA - which has long since been active abroad - with preventive competence, with which it can "go over onto the turf of the Verfassungsschutz" (political secret police "Protectors of the Constitution"), says the publicist Dieter Schenk in a conversation with german-foreign-policy.com. De facto these wide-ranging rights for a so-called defense against threats, are also a subversion of the sovereignty of the police of the individual federal states.[4] Parliamentarians of the opposition are criticizing that the projected domestic repressive apparatus is in many ways "unconstitutional".[5]

Screened By All Agencies

The foreign espionage service is increasingly being included in this dissolution of the separation of powers between police and intelligence agencies. This has been substantiated in a report on the "Gemeinsame Analyse- und Strategiezentrum illegale Migration" (Joint Analysis and Strategy Center on Illegal Migration - GASIM). That institution, which began functioning two years ago, officially defends against undesired immigrants. In GASIM officials of the federal police and the BKA are cooperating with secret service personnel (Verfassungsschutz and the Federal Intelligence Service - BND).[6] Internal documents as well as statements from insiders indicate the extent to which police work and espionage are blending into one another. According to these sources, information from the BND "is simply passed on to the desks of the police." The police then do research in "their own data banks for information on these persons."[7] It is reported that even on the basis of "vague suspicions, also Germans (...) will be screened by all of the participating agencies." This cooperation also includes operative measures. In reference to the police working together with the spy agencies, a GASIM insider explains that "this means that information is enhanced, investigations prepared, at times even accompanied, and further measures are initiated with other police departments."

Spy Satellites

This insider report on the GASIM reinforces apprehensions that the police-intelligence service cooperation is also violating the separation of powers imperative in the Gemeinsame Terrorismusabwehrzentrum (Joint Terrorism Defense Center - GTAZ) located in Berlin-Treptow.[8] In addition the dividing lines are becoming ambiguous between the work of the BKA, which in the context of the GASIM and the GTAZ, is working officially with the domestic and foreign espionage agencies and the military. In his most recent work, the publicist Dieter Schenk, who has written several critical analyses of the BKA, speaks of a "unification of police-military resources."[9] As Schenk reports, the BKA agreed in June 2005 to cooperate with the Center for the Transformation of the Bundeswehr - to formulate "interdisciplinary coordinated analyses of the causes, characteristics and consequences of threats as well as the possibilities for combating them." This also includes the Bundeswehr's satellite surveillance photography that the BKA would like to use for "threat analyses or police surveillance measures."[10]

Military Functions

Even though this obviously is to be used for domestic repression, the president of the BKA also has his sights on cooperation with the military in regions where Germany is an occupying power. While "using the Bundeswehr's infrastructure, such as its means of communications, protective vests, transportation logistics" [11] police officers could support the Bundeswehr in its functions as an occupying power. In general, "police and military resources must be consciously coordinated in the field of strategic planning." This is similar to what Christian Schmidt, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Defense Ministry, has been demanding. Already several years ago Schmidt alleged that "a cemented division separating domestic from foreign security can no longer be maintained." In the future, according to Schmidt, the police must be prepared "to take on typical military functions in foreign deployment, for example in the Balkans."[12]

Flexible

The dissolution of the separation of powers between the military, police and intelligence services, which is ostentatiously advancing in occupation zones,[13] is having a blowback onto German territory with the BKA-Law and the legalization of military operations in domestic affairs. Now it will also be possible to carry out in Germany what is being done - with hit and miss success - in Southeast Europe and Afghanistan: the flexible fight against various potentials of civil disorder using the respectively adequate measures, ranging from police intervention to heavy artillery on the basis of espionage information.

Please read also Interview mit Dieter Schenk and BKA - Polizeihilfe für Folterregime.

[1] Bundeswehr gegen den inneren Feind; taz 05.10.2008
[2] Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Inneren?; www.tagesschau.de 02.07.2007
[3] see also Freie Fahrt für die "zivil-militärische" Bundeswehr and Klarstellung
[4] "Das Bundeskriminalamt kann die Aufgabe der Abwehr von Gefahren des internationalen Terrorismus wahrnehmen, in denen eine länderübergreifende Gefahr vorliegt" (§ 4a, Absatz 1 BKA-Gesetz).
[5] Widerstand gegen BKA-Gesetz. Warnung vor deutschem FBI; n-tv 16.09.2008
[6] see also Lagebilder
[7] Was passiert in Schäubles Vorzeigeprojekt "GASIM"?; Report Mainz 29.09.2008
[8] see also Alle Kräfte bündeln
[9], [10], [11] Dieter Schenk: BKA - Polizeihilfe für Folterregime, Bonn 2008
[12] Martina Harder: Polizeisoldaten; Wissenschaft und Frieden 4/2006. See also Sammelrezension: Polizeisoldaten
[13] see also Paramilitary, Söldner and Spezialkommandos