Germany plays a central role in US military operations since 9/11 and is a major enabler of the US assassination program, says Jeremy Scahill. Many of the operations of the Joint Special Operation Command, the covert US elite forces, are being planned at the US Africa Command “AFRICOM” in Stuttgart/Germany. More than 70 countries in the world have access to weaponized drone technology. Germany is also trying to acquire them. It is only a matter of time that they will be used. Furthermore the US military has donated its equipment to police agencies. The same will happen in Germany and Europe where drones also will be used for surveillance purposes. Law enforcement is going to become more and more an issue of paramilitary operations.
Jeremy Scahill: National Security correspondent of "The Nation", author of "Dirty Wars. The World Is a Battlefield" and "Blackwater. The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army"
David Goessmann: Welcome to Kontext TV. Our guest in Berlin is today Jeremy Scahill. Scahill is National Security Correspondent for “The Nation” magazine. He is well-known for his New York Times best-selling book “Blackwater. The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”. His latest book “Dirty Wars. The World Is a Battlefield” has just been released in German. We already have discussed the book with Scahill in June this year. We are happy to have him back on our program. Welcome to Kontext TV Jeremy Scahill.
Jeremy Scahill: It's great to be with you.
David Goessmann: In your book “Dirty Wars” you describe the US assassination program since 9/11. But what is the role of European countries in this. We know for example that the German Bundeswehr provides US special operation forces with target information in Afghanistan and infrastructure assistance. We don’t know yet if the German elite forces called KSK based in Afghanistan also have undertaken kill operations. And then there is AfriCom, based in Stuttgart, Germany, coordinating the drone warfare in Africa and beyond. So what is the overall responsibility of Europe and especially Germany in the dirty war?
Jeremy Scahill: Germany has played a central role in U.S. military operations across the globe since 9/11 and certainly under President Obama. Right now President Obama is expanding covert operations on the African continent. The U.S. is regularly doing strikes in Somalia, they are increasing the military presence in North and West Africa, recently in Mali, Mauritania. And in Germany, the base in Stuttgart, its not just that it is the head of U.S. Africa Command - Africom, its also that the JSOC Operations, the Joint Special Operation Command, these elite secretive commando units plan many of heir operations out of Stuttgart. The U.S. Commander of Special Operation Forces for Europe is based there and that is a major position in terms of the world of covert op‘s. So I would say that Germany is a major enabler of covert U.S. military action. Not just because of the massive U.S. military presence here but also because of the specific nature of the kinds of operations that are planned from German soil by the U.S. military.
David Goessmann: European countries especially France and Germany also want to acquire weaponized drones. Germany already uses surveillance drones in Afghanistan. It seems that the drone warfare could expand to other Nato countries. What are your thoughts on that?
Jeremy Scahill: I mean there are over 70 countries around the world that have access to weaponized Drone technology, I think that we are going... its just a matter of time before other nations start using these Drones. It could be Russia, it could be China, it could be France. France is increasingly engaged in its own military operations, particularly in Africa. But I think what we are going to see is a trend that started in the U.S. recently where there has been a para militarization of law enforcement, domestic law enforcement. So I think in some of these European Nations the Drones will first start to appear without missiles attached to them and they are gonna be used for surveillance or purpesuing smugglers or narco-traffickers or used in confronting basic crime inside of countries, we are already seeing that in the U.S. But as the U.S. and Europe begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan, what we are seeing is that in the U.S. the military is donating or giving its military equipment to police agencies. And I think that in many ways these wars are coming home and societies are becoming hyper-militarized at a time when we also have a growing surveillance state. So the issue of drones is part of a much bigger picture of other Nations taking America’s lead and viewing law enforcement as a paramilitary activity and seeking to uptain weapons that don’t require you to deploy your own soldiers around the world and still be able to conduct military strikes.
David Goessmann: What does that mean in the long run?
Jeremy Scahill: Ultimately one of the things that limits the ability of political leaders or heads of state to wage wars is that the population says „We don’t want to participate in that. We don’t want to send our soldiers into a war zone to risk the lives of young men and women.“ in your country. And so Drones make it politically easier for a head of state to argue that they are defending the interest of the nation without subjecting people to having their young people killed in war zones. Drones also, they make the argument that they are cleaner forms of war because the blast radius is shorter. Its not that I am so obsessed with the technology, Drones ultimately are a weapon at the end of the day. The issue for me is the policy that necessitates the use of Drones which is in case of the U.S. a global assassination program where they believe they have the right to just target for assassination anyone that they determine in secret to be a terrorist or depose a terror threat.