World Racism case seen as threat to whole German army
Defender exercises strengthen Southeastern Europe’s deterrence with Russia
CAPU MIDIA TRAINING AREA, Romania – American and Romanian officers wearing corresponding green and blue camouflage uniforms stood atop an observation deck at the Capu Midia training area in Romania on Wednesday with a common objective that interrupted their conversations throughout the sunny afternoon on the Black Sea coast. © Provided by Washington Examiner Silence ensued each time a PA announced a hostile target was engaged. All eyes focused on the most modern missile-defense systems positioned on the beach below. Breaths were held before an explosive thrust launched a missile.
The German defence minister has told the armed forces that reported racist and sexual abuse in a German platoon based in Lithuania has put their entire reputation at risk.
The 30 soldiers have now been recalled. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the scandal was a "slap in the face" for all those serving in the Bundeswehr (armed forces).
The reports spoke of a sexual assault, bullying, anti-Semitism and Nazi songs.
The platoon was part of a Nato mission.
"Through their behaviour these soldiers frivolously put the whole Bundeswehr's reputation at risk," she said, addressing a Bundeswehr officers' academy in Hamburg.
Is there an uncontroversial way to teach America’s racist history?
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The allegations, first reported by Der Spiegel news, relate to a party held at a hotel in Lithuania at the end of April.
Members of the platoon allegedly filmed an incident of sexual assault against another soldier and sang anti-Semitic songs. Later more allegations emerged of sexual and racial abuse in the platoon, including soldiers singing a song to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday on 20 April.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said "these misdeeds will be severely prosecuted and punished, as far as expelling those responsible from the Bundeswehr".
The platoon was part of, a mission which trains local soldiers in the three Baltic states and Poland as a deterrent against Russian aggression. There are 620 German troops in Lithuania, leading a Nato battlegroup.
China Shows Off Army, Navy Landing Capabilities After U.S. Senators Visit Taiwan
The military exercise, which took place on an unspecified date, was released on Monday following the whirlwind visit to Taipei by three sitting U.S. senators.The People's Liberation Army (PLA) drill took place at an unspecified time and place off the coast of Fujian province in southeastern China, according to separate reports published Monday by the PLA's Eastern Theater Command and China's state broadcaster CCTV.
The minister said the abuses were undermining the Bundeswehr at a time when it needed funding for new equipment and challenges such as combating Russian disinformation.
She told the officers that their job was to be "the armour that ensures democratic stability", and they were the "first line of defence against extremist activities".
Is there a pattern of far-right extremism in the army?
German media report that far-right abuses among the Lithuania-based troops had already surfaced last year.
In one case, a soldier allegedly racially abused a non-white fellow soldier.
In another case, four German soldiers smoking outside a Lithuanian barracks made animal noises when a black French soldier walked past.
The cases were reported by the government, answering a question from left-wing Linke MP Ulla Jelpke. None of the alleged offenders has been punished yet.
On opposite sides of Europe, US troops are practicing new ways to get to battle
"It's just as important to be lethal in air, land, sea, space, and cyber as it is to be lethal in logistics," the top US general in Europe said this week.This month, US Army logisticians and transporters unloaded 300 pieces of equipment belonging to the Army National Guard's 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at the port of Esbjerg in Denmark.
The last big scandal came last year, when far-right incidents in the elite KSK commando unit triggered calls for it to be disbanded.
But Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said reforms, started after the scandal erupted, were yielding results, so she would let the unit survive.
A year ago she ordered part of the KSK to be disbanded, saying it had become partly independent of the chain of command. Earlier police had seized explosives and weapons at the home of a KSK soldier.
And in January 2020, military intelligence said there were almost 600 suspected far-right supporters in the army. They said the KSK was seen as a particular problem, with 20 members suspected of right-wing extremism.
The unit was founded in 1996, and has some 1,000 soldiers trained for crisis situations such as freeing hostages abroad.
In 2017when Nazi-era memorabilia was found at two of them. Many of those suspected of far-right links are thought to be sympathetic to anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), the main opposition party.
This rabbi is joining the German army, 90 years after Hitler expelled Jewish soldiers .
During Germany's Covid-19 lockdown, Rabbi Zsolt Balla earned a devoted online following, live-streaming prayer services on Facebook. © Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images Rabbi Zsolt Balla will be the German military's first chief rabbi in almost nine decades. Now, as the country begins to open up, he's taking on a previously unimaginable job as the German military's chief rabbi -- its first in almost 90 years, since Adolf Hitler expelled Jews from the armed forces in the 1930s.