KW 28: German interior ministry halts study into racial profiling by police, Controversial constitutional reform in Russia, UN ceasefire resolution adopted

GREETINGS

AKK and the new visibility of the German army

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) has had a mixed start as Germany’s defense minister: Military missions were brought into play on an international level without previous agreement. This was followed by an embarrassing duel with Foreign Minister Maas in an attempt to stand out.

But AKK now seems to have understood one thing: the German army is invisible. If it is visible, then only with scandals of more or less large substance. Politicians love to talk about the troops, but rarely stand behind the soldiers themselves. AKK’s proposals of public vows, free rail travel and now of voluntary service are of very mixed quality, and practically all Western countries have ended mandatory military service for good reason. However, AKK did manage to bring the army into the public discussion. It can no longer be ignored or only noticed if there is another scandal. The army certainly benefits. It remains to be seen whether AKK will also benefit. In the medium term, more thoughtful ideas will be necessary.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –

NEWS

German interior ministry halts study into racial profiling by police: The interior ministry announced on Sunday that research planned to investigate alleged racial profiling by German police forces had been canceled. The ministry cited Interior Minister Horst Seehofer as saying there was no need. Seehofer believes that as racial profiling by the federal police is prohibited, it does not have to be separately examined. SPD politician Kevin Kühnert said according to this logic, all speed cameras could be dismantled immediately since driving too fast was also not allowed. Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht plans to continue the study. She said it was not about placing officials under general suspicion. Rather, the current state of affairs should be determined so that corresponding trends could be counteracted.
dw.com, welt.de

Controversial constitutional reform in Russia: 77.9% of Russian voters have backed constitutional reforms that could keep President Vladimir Putin in power until 2036. The reforms will reset Putin’s term limits to zero in 2024, allowing him to serve two more six-year terms. Opposition politicians have warned that Putin was aiming to be president for life, a claim Putin denies. Golos, an independent Russian election monitoring group, has castigated the vote, alleging there were many violations of democracy. Its criticisms include that opponents were barred from campaigning in the media; remote electronic voting was organized on an illegal basis; election monitors were appointed by the Civic Chamber – a government body. In total, the constitutional reform includes around 170 changes – including social reforms and the establishment of marriage as a covenant between men and women. What is particularly worrying is the provision that Russia could place national interests above international law in the future.
bbc.com, tagesschau.de

Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution wants to examine AfD politicians’ data: At first, Saxony’s new President for the Protection of the Constitution, Dirk-Martin Christian, said the storage of information on AfD politicians was illegal and advocated that they be deleted as soon as possible. Now he has said that this data should be legally examined. According to the interior ministry, the Saxony State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV) will work closely with the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and other authorities and “more qualified and legally experienced personnel will be deployed at short notice”. The first results of the “AfD / Flügel” working group will be available after the summer break. Particularly tricky: LfV chief Christian is said to have instructed his predecessor Gordian Meyer-Plath to delete some information about MPs. The then head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Meyer-Plath, denied these reports.
sueddeutsche.de, zeit.de

UN ceasefire resolution adopted: The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday echoed a call by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a worldwide ceasefire, to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed more than half a million lives. The UN chief welcomed the long-awaited move, calling for countries to redouble their efforts for peace. Through the resolution, the Council called upon all parties to armed conflicts to immediately engage in a durable humanitarian pause of at least 90 days, to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of lifesaving aid. The resolution makes no mention of the World Health Organization (WHO) which according to news reports was a bone of contention during lengthy negotiations on the text, notably between China and the United States, which announced its withdrawal from the UN health agency in April.
news.un.org

Turkey wants French apology over Mediterranean warships incident: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday Turkey expects France to apologize after an incident between Turkish and French warships in the Mediterranean Sea prompted Paris to request a Nato investigation. “France should apologize to us instead of confronting Turkey with wrong information,” Cavusoglu said during a news conference in Berlin. France said that in June, Turkish ships had acted aggressively toward a French frigate after it tried to inspect a vessel off the coast of Libya, where the frigate was operating as part of a Nato naval mission. Turkey, a fellow alliance member, denied its ships had harassed the frigate. France this week suspended its involvement in the Nato mission.
reuters.com, politico.eu

G20 protest: Acquittal for former police officer after throwing cans at G20 protest sueddeutsche.de
Academic Association for Security Studies (BSH): Online seminar series: Security Policy in the Ice – Underestimated Arctic? sicherheitspolitik.de
Ethiopia: Singer’s death unrest killed 166 bbc.com
Presidential election: Opposition doing well in election in the Dominican Republic dw.com
Provocation: Iran brags about “rocket cities” underground n-tv.de

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

There would be more than 500,000 soldiers in the German army if conscription was reintroduced. The army is currently comprised of around 180,000 soldiers.
deutschlandfunkkultur.de

BACKGROUND

US troop withdrawal from Germany: Over the past decade, the German government has paid around 100 million euros to station the US army in Germany. But of course the US costs were even higher. Germany is one of the most expensive American troop locations. According to a budget paper from the US department of defense, the cost over the last ten years was 7.234 billion euros. President Trump justified his decision to reduce American troops in Germany by saying the German government was spending too little on defense. In fact, troops from all over Europe use the infrastructure that the American military has created with its bases in Germany: be it by supplying missions in Iraq or Afghanistan via Ramstein or the largest American military hospital outside the United States in Landstuhl.
faz.net

“Troop withdrawal on the Chinese-Indian border”: China and India have begun pulling back troops from the site of a deadly border clash, as Beijing opened another front in the region’s territorial disputes with a new claim in nearby Bhutan. Chinese and Indian troops both started to withdraw from some friction points in disputed areas along the two countries’ Himalayan border, Indian security officials said Monday, following talks between senior diplomats and military commanders to calm tensions.
wsj.com

Media alliance warns of state Trojans: The German interior ministry’s plans “to adapt the law on the protection of the constitution” are resulting in criticism. A broad media alliance warns that such a law could threaten the protection of journalists from informants and that the draft “could pose a number of dangers for journalistic work in Germany”. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s plans stipulate that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as well as the Federal Intelligence Service and the Military Shield Service and the State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution will be able to intercept a large number of chats, internet or video calls with the use of state Trojans.
heise.de

QUOTE

“This is another example of the Security Council being on the verge of an incapacity to act.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas shortly before the start of the German presidency of the UN Security Council in relation to the long power struggle between the United States and China before the now adopted UN resolution on a ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic.
n-tv.de

SECURE?

Legal limits for police’s social media work: In the past few weeks, images and reports of citizens’ expressions of solidarity have accumulated on the social media accounts of various police stations. But the police are not allowed to use social media arbitrarily; it is important to strike a balance between public relations at eye level and neutral, factual and correct communication.
netzpolitik.org

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