Former Pentagon chief wants to reform nuclear weapons clearance for US presidents: One week ago, Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington to prevent Congress from formally confirming Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. The outgoing president had repeatedly spoken of election manipulation, fraud and theft and his alleged „landslide victory“. He repeatedly called on his followers to „fight“. When the rioting mob made its way into the Capitol and the Senate had to interrupt its session, the president at first had no comments – his successor Biden appeared long before him and with much clearer words in front of cameras. On Tuesday, Trump did not take responsibility for encouraging his supporters to march on the building. When asked about whether he bears responsibility for the violence, the president said his remarks at a rally proceeding the storming of the building were „totally appropriate.“ Former Defense Secretary William Perry has written a guest article in „Politico“ saying the time had come to take the nuclear football away from this president — and all the presidents that come after him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the Pentagon’s highest military officer about the processes involved in ordering a nuclear strike. Pelosi wrote a letter Friday to fellow lawmakers informing them that she spoke with General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about keeping an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.
dw.com, politico.com, time.com, spiegel.de
Laschet wants to strengthen Europol: Armin Laschet, the prime minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, wants a more European and digital approach to internal security, according to German newspaper FAZ. He explained that internal and external security are becoming increasingly intertwined. Terrorism, extremism, but also transnational crime and cybercrime represent cross-border, international dangers. „From my point of view, Europol needs to be significantly strengthened,“ said Laschet. The EU law enforcement agency could also help with another challenge – digitization. Europol could play a key role in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to process large amounts of data – if the authority receives more financial support in the future.
„Gorch Fock“ sees cost explosion: The naval training ship “Gorch Fock” is scheduled to sail again this year, after six years of refurbishment. A German Defense Ministry said the Navy was currently expecting completion by May 31st. The renovation of the more than 62-year-old ship has cost 135 million euros – instead of the originally planned 10 million euros. The Federal Audit Office cites poor preliminary planning on the part of the Navy and „irregularities at the former main contractor“ as reasons. But the renovation is causing other issues as well: Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit with the Cologne Administrative Court to stop the construction of the deck, because the wood for the deck is said to be illegally felled, Indonesian teak. In addition, there are investigations against two former board members who have been entrusted with the maintenance of the „Gorch Fock“ for years.
Solar winds attack affects Germany too: The attack on Solar Winds software affected German ministries, federal agencies and companies, according to a Deutschlandfunk report. 300,000 people and organizations worldwide use the software. In Germany, it is used by the ministries of transport and family, the federal offices for goods traffic, cartography and security in information technology, the German Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Motor Transport Authority – as well as the Robert Koch Institute, the German Foreign Office and Defense Technical Office 61, which tests the army’s flight infrastructure. According to the media, 16 ministries and offices use Solarwinds software. Experts therefore speak of the “most dangerous hack of the century”. According to Deutschlandfunk, IT security researcher Professor Hartmut Pohl assumes that a lot of data is already in the hands of the attackers and that they are planning further attacks.
Public prosecutor’s office investigates after hacker attack on Aida: The Rostock cruise company Aida Cruises has been hit by a cyber attack. An IT outage created enormous restrictions on board of its ships. Most recently, all cruises were canceled until mid-January and the Rostock public prosecutor’s office began its investigation. The suspicion: computer sabotage. Much of what normally works on board using IT was no longer possible. Whether the on-board network, the booking system, cameras or electronic boarding passes for the passengers. Aida Cruises is not the only shipping company affected: the Norwegian shipping company Hurtigruten was also the victim of a hacker attack in mid-December.
Trump’s coup: Last warning for democracies herzinger.org
North Korea: Kim Jong-un pledges to expand nuclear arsenal bbc.com
Strike against opposition: Wave of arrests in Hong Kong faz.net
Freedom of information: Ms. von der Leyen, when can we read your text messages? netzpolitik.org
Middle East: Normalization of Israel’s diplomatic relations with some Arab countries puts pressure on Hamas al-monitor.com
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
According to research institute Forsa, 80 percent of Germans trust the police – which puts the police force in second place behind doctors (85 percent) and on a par with universities.
Drone defense with an Israeli fire control visor: The US army is said to have used the Smash 2000 target optics on M4A1 assault rifles in Syria to test the defense against small or micro drones. Small drones pose a threat to armed forces not just in conventional warfare but also in asymmetrical conflicts. They can also be used for espionage purposes or for assassinations. With the Smash fire control visor, the drones could be repelled with little damage. The visor can be used against static and moving targets at around 300 meters. The fire control sights are sold in cooperation with SIG Sauer. The German army should perhaps consider using these visors for defense against drones.
How QAnon could grow more radical: Peter R. Neumann, professor of security studies at King’s College in London, explained in a guest article for German newspaper „Spiegel“ that the storming of the US Capitol is just a first taste of what radicalized QAnon supporters could mean for the United States – and democracy. United by a „conspiracy theory, according to which America is ruled by a network of Satanists and child molesters against whom Trump is waging a secret war“, they reject the government and the political system. Founded by an alleged government insider, Q, who remains anonymous, the theories of the movement were spurred on again and again by the outgoing US president. Q in turn repeatedly stated that there was a „day of reckoning“ against the „Deep State“, the secret organization behind the actual political decisions that only the now-elected president would fight against. But what happens to QAnon now that Joe Biden will take over the presidency and many conservatives are turning away from QAnon after the events in Washington? Neumann predicts that the movement will shrink.
The German-Russian relationship is crumbling: For a long time, Germany was seen as extremely understanding of Russia, but that has been changing: Observers believe that bilateral relations have now arrived at a low point. There are several reasons for this: the Georgian Selimchan Changoshvili, who was allegedly shot by the Russian secret service in Berlin’s Tiergarten in 2019, and recently the poison attack on the Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny. Germany decided to let Navalny enter the country and treat him in a hospital Berlin – suddenly, leading politicians criticized the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is essential for Russia’s gas exports to Western Europe. Afterwards, however, the possible sanctions mentioned were not actually implemented.
„Bad thoughts turn into bad words and at some point also bad deeds. That is why we not only have to improve the security measures for democratic institutions in Germany, but also fundamentally look at the sect-like movement of ‚lateral thinkers‘ and other comparable groups. „
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder on the events in Washington last week.
Secret State Chancellery documents accidentally posted online: They are actually classified as secret, but now the floor plans of the Düsseldorf State Chancellery have accidentally been published. They were posted on the internet, freely accessible to all, in response to a tender for renovation work. A spokesman said the plans have since been removed and the state chancellery is still working on explaining how the error came about.