Kramp-Karrenbauer admits mistakes in KSK affair

IIn the affair of a possibly illegal amnesty for soldiers of the Special Forces Command (KSK) by the commander of the association, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) described reports about the imminent replacement of Markus Kreitmayr as “new German fake news”. She also said after a meeting of the Defense Committee: “I can credibly declare that I have not made this decision and will not make it until I have identified the facts and the corresponding legal assessment and, above all, the statements of the person concerned the table. ”Various sources had previously reported that the brigadier general’s replacement was imminent. This had led to a strong commitment in favor of Kreitmayr, who was described, for example, by the union-like Bundeswehr Association as having integrity and reform-oriented. The KSK was the subject of an intelligence investigation by the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) last year due to right-wing extremist incidents. The second company of the KSK was disbanded.

The minister admitted errors in informing Parliament that Inspector General Eberhard Zorn had made. Zorn had taken out the news of the association’s self-amnesty in a report for parliament. In the spring of last year, Kreitmayr had ordered a collection campaign in which commandos in Calw could hand in ammunition that they had previously kept with them by mistake or on purpose, but in any case illegally, without fear of consequences.

Tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition

During the action tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition of various calibres came together as well as hand grenades and explosives, which could be stored in an “amnesty box”, probably in the form of pallets in front of the company buildings. The procedure is practiced in the United States, but is not common in Germany. There, soldiers are made aware of the legal consequences of misappropriating ammunition during each practice shooting. The fact that special rights applied to the KSK can be seen as a symptom of disciplinary deficiencies in the isolated elite association. The ministry said: “There seems to have been a lack of culture at the KSK in which it was believed that rules and regulations only apply to others. The KSK will only have a future if this non-culture is permanently broken up and changed. “

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After the ammunition campaign became public, the ministry allegedly started an intensified investigation which, according to reports, had already taken place. But now, according to the minister, it should be conducted with “even more transparency, even more intensity, even more quickly”. The background to this statement is the fact that in an interim report on the KSK from Inspector General Eberhard Zorn to parliament and the minister, the offer of amnesty did not appear. Why? That needs to be clarified. In a preliminary report by the army, both the facts and the legal assessment were “deposited”, said the minister. That was not included in the interim report for the Defense Committee of the Bundestag. Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Wednesday that Zorn had admitted this, explained his motives and also said that “from today’s perspective it was a mistake on his part” to keep the ammunition collection secret.

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