KW 5: Myanmar military coup, How the Germany military could help iron out some failures in Covid crisis management, Malware botnet Emotet has been disrupted

SALUT

The German government must deliver to stay legitimate:

The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark are offering Germany a small taste of violent riots during the Covid-19 crisis. States are now in a bind: more toughness provokes more resistance and the state is already overburdened. Only real performance will count – in getting vaccines and restoring normality. If that doesn’t work, even „framing“ or „crisis communication“ won’t help. At the moment, the “key performance indicators” of politics are easy to understand for everyone and can be followed in absolute numbers. Should policymakers fail, all kinds of extremists could take advantage of the situation and the doubts about the competence of the federal government – whether they see vaccines as something positive or negative, and whether they want to politically destabilize the country or simply spread violence.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –

NEWS

Myanmar military coup draws condemnation from around the world: Governments around the world condemned Myanmar’s military coup on Monday, calling for the release of elected leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the legitimate civilian government must be restored, in line with the country’s constitution. “I strongly condemn the coup carried out by the Myanmar military and call for the immediate release of those detained,“ said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. „Myanmar’s people want democracy. The EU stands with them.“ Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, tweeted that the outcome of the elections had to be respected and democratic process needed to be restored. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the developments were a serious blow to democratic reforms and urged all leaders to refrain from violence and respect human rights. Reflecting similar views of several Western governments, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the release of Suu Kyi and the others detained by the military. US President Joe Biden on Monday said his administration is considering resuming sanctions on Myanmar.
france24.com, dw.com, reuters.com, politico.com

How the Germany military could help iron out some failures in Covid crisis management: Many Germans are dreaming of an early end to the current Covid lockdown, but this appears unlikely. Especially when considering that the mutant B117 coronavirus strain could also become a common coronavirus variant in Germany. The German government can be partially blamed for this. But a premature end to the lockdown could also result in a Covid yo-yo effect. For months, the health authorities have not been able to keep up with contact tracing, and gene sequencing of positive Covid tests to find out how common mutations are currently in Germany has only been carried out nationwide since January. Nonetheless, one of the greatest omissions is the long time many municipalities spent ignoring the military’s offers of help. At least 20,000 auxiliary workers and 17,000 paramedics could currently be called on nationwide, but the federal states and municipalities are reluctant to use the help. According to the „Bild“ newspaper, Chancellor Angela Merkel said: „I cannot call 14,000 nursing homes personally from Berlin, I ask for your help.“ Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the military could „quickly provide 10,000 men and women and more in old people’s and nursing homes if the federal states and municipalities apply for it“. The military could also provide much more support when it comes to contact tracing. All municipalities were supposed to have the tracking software „Sormas“ installed and in use by mid-January, but so far only 132 of the 400 or so health offices are using the software. The military could help out until the software is fully implemented everywhere.
tagesspiegel.de

Malware botnet Emotet has been disrupted: The world’s most prolific and dangerous malware botnet has been taken down following a global law enforcement operation that was two years in planning. Judicial authorities and law enforcement took down the botnet’s whole infrastructure from the inside after gaining control of its servers. Machines infected by Emotet are now directed to infrastructure controlled by law enforcement, meaning cyber criminals can no longer exploit machines compromised. Emotet establishes a backdoor onto Windows computer systems via automated phishing emails that distribute Word documents compromised with malware. Those behind the Emotet lease their army of infected machines out to other cyber criminals as a gateway for additional malware attacks, including remote access tools (RATs) and ransomware.
zdnet.com, bleepingcomputer.com

EU pays more than 300 million for drone surveillance: A tender from the EU Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) shows that it is looking for a service provider for the unmanned surveillance of European marine areas. Initially, 2,300 flight hours were estimated for 20 million euros. Drones have been flying for EU agencies for four years. With the current tender, the EU Commission has so far spent at least 308 million euros on drone surveillance. Most of this (over 200 million euros) was paid for by EMSA to monitor all sea areas of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. Especially when monitoring lakes, drones should help to quickly and automatically trigger warning messages if „unusual ship behavior“ such as conspicuous proximity to other ships, a change of lane, a particular draft or transshipment on the high seas is noticed. In addition, the drones‘ infrared cameras can recognize ship names from a distance and the exact number of people on boats or inflatable boats. The EU Commission is also promoting the use of unmanned systems for border surveillance. A total of around 23 million euros was distributed to Germany, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta and Poland via the Internal Security Fund (ISF).
netzpolitik.org

Terrorist attack on hotel in Mogadishu: Five people, plus four attackers, were killed in an attack at a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, according to Somali police. The deadly siege at the Afrik hotel which left 10 other civilians injured ended after Somali security forces battled militants for eight hours, police spokesperson Sadik Aden Ali said at a press conference early on Monday. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement broadcast by Andalus Radio, its mouthpiece channel. The hotel is frequented by members of parliament, politicians, and security officials, but not foreigners. Outside the hotel is the main security checkpoint to the airport and Halane base, which houses western missions, including the US embassy.
cnn.com

Security: US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence apnews.com
Dispute over assault rifles: Gun manufacturer Haenel describes patent allegations as irrelevant faz.net
Uganda: Bobi Wine challenges election result in court dw.com
Data protection: German parliament passes law on information about inventory data zeit.de
NSU 2.0: Walter-Lübcke-Schule receives threatening letters faz.net

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

The number of right-wing extremists in Germany who legally own guns increased by 35 percent in 2020.
tagesschau.de

BACKGROUND

German military to send medical staff and equipment to Portugal: Portugal said on Saturday that only seven of 850 ICU beds set up for Covid-19 cases on its mainland were vacant. Germany’s military will send medical staff and equipment to Portugal, the defense ministry in Berlin said on Sunday. German magazine „Spiegel“ said the military planned to send 27 doctors and paramedics to Portugal who were initially supposed to remain there for three weeks, as well as stationary and mobile ventilators and field beds for patients. Portugal, which has recorded 711,018 coronavirus cases with 12,179 deaths, has the world’s highest seven-day rolling average of cases and deaths per capita, according to data tracker Our World in Data.
reuters.com, dw.com

Humans too slow to defend against drone swarms? General John Murray, head of Army Futures Command, told a webinar audience at the Center for Strategic & International Studies that humans may not be able to fight swarms of enemy drones, and that the rules governing human control over artificial intelligence might need to be relaxed. „When you are defending against a drone swarm, a human may be required to make that first decision, but I am just not sure any human can keep up,“ said Murray. „How much human involvement do you actually need when you are [making] nonlethal decisions from a human standpoint?“ This indicates a new interpretation of the Pentagon’s rules on the use of autonomous weapons.
forbes.com

Navalny sentenced to nearly 3 years in jail: Russian opposition leader and main Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison for violating the terms of a 2014 conviction. The Moscow court decision came days after more than 5,000 people were detained across Russia in rallies in Navalny’s support. Navalny, who is the most prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, had denounced the proceedings as politically motivated and a vain attempt by the Kremlin to scare millions of Russians into submission. Navalny and his lawyers have argued that while he was recovering in Germany from the poisoning, he couldn’t register with Russian authorities in person as required by his probation. He also insisted that his due process rights were crudely violated during his arrest and described his jailing as a travesty of justice.
nbcnews.com, apnews.com, npr.org

QUOTE

„People get up to five years in prison for graffiti or for defending people protesting peacefully.“
Munich-based author Vitali Alekseenok on the situation in Belarus, where people have been protesting against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko since the summer.
deutschlandfunknova.de

SECURE?

Hamburg data protectionists are investigating Clubhouse: The Clubhouse app has been extremely popular in Germany for the last few weeks. But data protection advocates are critical of the app. On Tuesday, Hamburg’s data protection representative Johannes Caspar announced that there were some doubts among local supervisory authorities about the practices of US operator Alpha Exploration, which is why Caspar has sent the Californian operators a questionnaire to check compliance with European data protection law.
heise.de

Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter with a compact overview of security policy:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings