By Peter Schwarz in Germany:
The return of German militarism: Colonel Klein goes unpunished
22 April 2010
The Karlsruhe federal prosecutor has closed an investigation into army colonel Georg Klein. This means that no one will face legal consequences for the deadliest bomb attack by the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) since its formation.
On September 4, 2009, Colonel Klein issued a command to bomb two hijacked tankers near the Afghan city of Kunduz. According to NATO sources, up to 142 people were killed as a result, including dozens of civilians. In the aftermath, senior German government and military circles tried to cover up the massacre. Only following press releases and pronouncements from the American authorities did the true extent of the massacre become known.
Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) had to resign because for several days after the attack he falsely denied knowledge that there were civilian victims. His successor, Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg (Christian Social Union, CSU), initially defended Klein’s conduct, but then had to reverse himself, calling the attack “not appropriate militarily.” He dismissed General Inspector Wolfgang Schneiderhan and a state secretary for allegedly withholding documents from him. The Bundestag (federal parliament) even established a committee of inquiry to probe the Kunduz affair.
The federal prosecutor has now given Klein a free pass, absolving him of any criminal responsibility for the massacre in Kunduz. This will give the army a free hand to perpetrate similar massacres in future.
The reasons given by the prosecutor for this action mark a significant development of German militarism. An unelected federal agency with neither democratic legitimacy nor judicial powers has created a legal precedent that will have fatal consequences.
In a bid to quell public anger, Pakistan’s army chief was forced to issue a public apology last Saturday over the recent killing of more than 70 civilians near the Afghanistan border: here.
The regular killing of civilians has dramatically heightened the already pervasive hatred of occupation forces by the Afghan population, even as a steady build-up takes place of US and NATO troop numbers in the country: here.
Nothing to see here folks: covering up a massacre in Afghanistan: here.
- Children among five Afghans killed in Nato airstrike: officials (byonlineweb.com)
- Solider who massacred Afghan villagers gets life without parole (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Life Sentence for Solider who Killed 16 Afghans (nation.time.com)
- Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Apologizes for Afghan Massacre (newsy.com)
- US soldier behind Afghan massacre apologizes for ‘act of cowardice’ – Reuters (reuters.com)