KW 21: German intelligence can’t spy on foreigners outside Germany, King of Jordan warns of US Middle East plan, FCAS armaments project debates AI


Undermining the credibility of conspiracy theories:

In the past few days of the coronavirus crisis, we have seen that conspiracy theories could well become a question of internal security. In even more severe crisis situations, internal instability in Germany could be even more serious than it is now.

But why are conspiracy theories shared by so many people? All conspiracy theorists have in common that they have a deep mistrust of the state, the economy and the media. Individual errors of these institutions are overrated by conspiracy theorists and lead to them only wanting to see “alternative truths”. In the crisis, all institutions should therefore place particular emphasis on acting responsibly, because this is the only way to combat distrust. And that deprives conspiracy theories of their power.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –


Rwandan war criminal arrested in Paris: French authorities have arrested Felicien Kabuga, an alleged leader and financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Kabuga was detained in a dawn raid in Asnieres-sur-Seine, where he had been living under a false identity. The authorities who have been hunting for Kabuga for years say the businessman played a key role in the ethnic bloodshed that left more than 800,000 people dead in a span of about three months. He allegedly encouraged and facilitated the violence in his capacity as both president of a Rwandan radio station that has been blamed for helping incite the rampant slaughter of ethnic Tutsis and other minority groups, and as the head of a fund that financed and supported the Hutu militias that carried it out. Following completion of appropriate procedures under French law, Kabuga is expected to be transferred to the custody of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) at The Hague, where he will stand trial.,

German intelligence can’t spy on foreigners outside Germany: The German government must come up with a new law regulating its secret services, after the country’s highest court ruled that the current practice of monitoring telecommunications of foreign citizens at will violates constitutionally-enshrined press freedoms and the privacy of communications. The ruling said that non-Germans were also protected by Germany’s constitutional rights, and that the current law lacked special protection for the work of lawyers and journalists. This applied both to the collection and processing of data as well as passing on that data to other intelligence agencies. Several foreign journalists, as well as the German journalists’ unions and the NGO Reporters Without Borders, had mounted a legal challenge to the latest amendment to the BND law, which sets out what Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, can and can’t do.

Indian spy indicted in Germany: German prosecutors have charged an Indian man with spying on the Sikh community and Kashmir activists in Germany for India’s intelligence service for more than two years. He is accused of agreeing to pass information on Sikhs and the “Kashmir movement” and their relatives to an employee of India’s Research and Analysis Wing, the foreign intelligence agency of India, on or before January 2015. The trial will open on August 25. The same Frankfurt court convicted an Indian couple for spying on the same communities last December.

German military’s operation in Mali expanded: In the future, the Bundeswehr will carry out its Mali mission closer to the country’s hotspots. It will continue to not take part in combat operations but will train Malian soldiers. However, German soldiers could face a greater risk in the future and be involved in more battles, also to support Malian comrades. The Bundeswehr contingent in Mali will therefore be increased significantly to up to 450 soldiers. Specialists could also soon be deployed. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are currently only 60 Bundeswehr members in Mali.

King of Jordan warns of US Middle East plan: King Abdullah II of Jordan warned Israel of a massive conflict if it proceeds with plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank. Israel has vowed to annex Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, which could spell the end of the long-stalled peace process by making it virtually impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state. US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, which overwhelmingly favors Israel and was rejected by the Palestinians, gave a green light to annexation, but most of the rest of the international community is strongly opposed. “Leaders who advocate a one-state solution do not understand what that would mean,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II said in an interview with the German magazine “Der Spiegel”. “What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” he said.

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Armaments company Rheinmetall was able to increase its sales in the first quarter of 2020 to 740 million euros.


Corona could lead to instability in the Middle East: The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Middle East hard. In addition to direct, short-term effects of the crisis, such as the increase in VAT in Saudi Arabia, in the long term, the virus could result in a power shift and instability in the Middle East. The pandemic may not yet have peaked in many Middle Eastern countries. In the crisis, poor governance and corruption take their toll on citizens of many countries who have lost confidence in their governments. At the same time, governments are trying to use the crisis for their own purposes. On the other hand, the crisis could offer the opportunity for new collaborations. Examples of this can be seen in the cooperation between Iran and Kuwait in combating the virus. It is questionable whether long-term cooperation will arise from these alliances.

FCAS armaments project debates AI: A new fighter jet will be developed by 2040 as part of the armament project FCAS (Future Combat Air System), a cooperation between Germany, France and Spain. The project will also focus on combat and reconnaissance drones to accompany the jet. The defense industry and politics are discussing the question of the extent to which artificial intelligence is used in the operation of jets. In order to clarify ethical questions, Airbus and a special institute of the German research association Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have set up an expert panel to contribute to the public discussion. This is also to prevent the debate from going on until the first AI drones are in use. Brigadier General Gerald Funke said during a recent video conference on this subject: “We will not accept a technical interpretation that would allow a system to have another person killed simply by computing an algorithm.” Furthermore, people should make decisions and bear consequences. The project is expected to cost around 500 billion euros over the next few decades.

The Kosovo war and the criminal proceedings in The Hague: The Council of Europe’s report on war crimes in the Kosovo conflict was published nine years ago. In the report, Switzerland accused the KLA, the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, of crimes such as kidnapping and torture, as well as professional shootings and drug and organ trafficking. Many Kosovan citizens paid close attention to the report. Many still see heroes in the KLA who liberated the country. The Kosovo special court in The Hague is dealing with the allegations against the KLA. Solene Moutier, who works for the local court, emphasizes that it is not about blaming entire organizations: “People are held responsible for crimes that they have committed individually, not as a representative of a group, community or community ethnicity. It is only about individual actions. However, this does not mean that the court can only hold one perpetrator responsible for a specific act. This can also be someone who has planned or initiated the crime. It could be a manager who did not prevent a crime or subsequently did not punish the person responsible.” However, the fact that a large number of these “individuals” belonged to the KLA is proven. Victims of war crimes are disappointed by the wording of the special court. It is still unclear who is ultimately being negotiated with in The Hague. The trial could include Hashim Thaci, the President of Kosovo. He calls the special court “a historical injustice for the people in Kosovo. The international community has committed us to use the court and threatened drastic measures against Kosovo if we don’t. There is no court that could violate the dignity, integrity and pride of my struggle for Kosovo’s independence.”


“There are still large gaps in equipment across the board. Some things have gradually gotten better, but some things have gotten even worse.”
Hans-Peter Bartels, the German parliament’s outgoing military commissioner, criticized the Bundeswehr’s lack of equipment.


German military forced to borrow parachutes: The Bundeswehr had to borrow 40 parachutes from US production because its own supply was insufficient. Parachutes were actually ordered last year, but there had been delays. According to experts, the cost of renting the US parachutes will likely amount to around 20,000 euros per system.

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