Mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence boss re­placed af­ter far-right scan­dal

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

BER­LIN: Ger­many’s de­fence min­is­ter will re­place the head of the mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence agency (MAD), her min­istry said on Thurs­day, a move in­di­cat­ing she wants to do more to root out rightwing radicals from the armed forces.

MAD chief Christof Gramm had be­gun re­forms to com­bat right-wing ex­trem­ism in the mil­i­tary and achieved no­tice­able im­prove­ments, the min­istry said in a state­ment, adding, how­ever, that fur­ther progress was needed and this re­quired more ef­fort.

“This new phase should also be made vis­i­ble in terms of per­son­nel,” the state­ment said.

By mu­tual con­sent, Mr Gramm is to be re­lieved of his du­ties next month, and will take early re­tire­ment, the de­fence min­istry said, adding that a suc­ces­sor would be cho­sen soon.

Sev­eral in­ci­dents in the past few months have raised con­cerns about the in­flu­ence of the far right in the mil­i­tary, an es­pe­cially sen­si­tive sub­ject for Ger­mans given the coun­try’s Nazi past.

In June, De­fence Min­is­ter An­negret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said she would dis­band a com­pany in the mil­i­tary’s elite KSK spe­cial forces due to a per­sis­tent prob­lem of far-right ex­trem­ism within the ranks.

A KSK cap­tain had asked the min­is­ter to in­ter­vene af­ter he ac­cused in­struc­tors and se­nior com­man­dos in the unit of cul­ti­vat­ing a “toxic cul­ture of ac­cep­tance” un­der which com­plaints about far-right in­flu­ence were sup­pressed.

In May, po­lice seized weapons, ex­plo­sives and am­mu­ni­tion dur­ing a raid on the pri­vate prop­erty of a KSK sol­dier in the eastern state of Sax­ony. As part of the crack­down, KSK op­er­a­tions are be­ing moved to other units.

REUTERS

De­fence Min­is­ter An­na­gret Kram­pKar­ren­bauer spoke of ex­trem­ism prob­lems.

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