German ex-militaries planned mercenary group to fight in Yemen

The defendants hoped Saudi officials would pay them to force peace negotiations in Yemen.

German ex-militaries planned mercenary group to fight in Yemen

The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office has arrested two former Bundeswehr soldiers who tried to set up a mercenary force of more than 100 men to intervene in the civil war in Yemen.

The two Germans, aged 52 and 60, were arrested “on urgent suspicion of attempted formation of a terrorist organization,” a statement released by the attorney general reads. Special units of the federal police on Wednesday detained both suspects in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district and Munich.

The two men reportedly made the decision to build a mercenary force under their command in early 2021. Their paramilitary unit was to be comprised of 100 to 150 men, mainly former members of the Bundeswehr or former police officers, Tagesschau reports.

With their mercenaries, the two ex-militaries had planned to intervene in the civil war in Yemen to force peace negotiations between the Huthi rebels and Yemeni government.

The driving motivation behind forming the group was financial: Both defendants reportedly intended each member of the group to earn a monthly wage of around €40,000, preferably from Saudi Arabia. They made numerous attempts to reach out to Saudi officials, who showed no reaction to their persisting efforts, der Spiegel reports.

“The two defendants were aware that the unit they were to command would inevitably have to carry out acts of killing during their mission. Moreover, they expected that civilians would also be killed and injured in connection with combat operations,” the statement by the attorney general concludes.

A judge at the Federal Supreme Court will decide today whether to remand the two defendants in custody.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Greek government is no friend of the far right

New Democracy played a pivotal role in clearing the way for justice to be served.

Greek government is no friend of the far right

The recent article “Street brawls and Nazi salutes: Greece grapples with far-right resurgence” (October 18) rehashes unfounded and largely unattributed claims against the Greek government and prime minister that have often been deployed by the official opposition.

New Democracy is a political party that has steadfastly and consistently opposed racism, hatred, fascism, political violence and extreme divisiveness. It was in 2013, when New Democracy was in power under Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, that the prosecution of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party began and its state funding was discontinued.

That year, the Greek judiciary ordered the arrest of the Golden Dawn leadership and several of its members, following an investigation initiated after the murder of anti-fascist activist and artist Pavlos Fyssas. These arrests were the result of a methodical and tenacious probe into the entire spectrum of Golden Dawn activities and its hierarchy.

However, during the Syriza-led coalition with the populist right in the four-and-a-half years that followed, from January 2015 until July 2019, developments relating to Golden Dawn proved contradictory and incongruous. Notably, the trial of Golden Dawn’s leadership — on charges of leading a criminal organization — never reached completion. A failure, which was even attributed to the inability to find a courtroom.

Greece’s current Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was the leader of the biggest opposition party at that time, spoke out about these delays, and in the run-up to the 2019 general election, he made the condemnation of Golden Dawn a central political priority, asking the Greek people to vote the party out of parliament.

Mitsotakis was vindicated by the election result. New Democracy prevailed at the ballot box, while Golden Dawn lost its seats in parliament for the first time since 2012 — an outcome that was hailed internationally. And in 2020, Golden Dawn’s leadership was finally convicted in court and imprisoned for directing a criminal organization.

On the day that the verdict was announced, the prime minister stated, “Αfter the Greek people voted the neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn out of Parliament in the last election, today the Greek justice system convicted its leadership of operating as a criminal organization. A truly historic day for Greece, democracy and the rule of law.”

New Democracy played a leading role in the efforts clearing the way for justice to be served and sending Golden Dawn back to the political fringe. These facts are indisputable, and they explain why the current government does not, and will not, accept any finger-wagging when it comes to its democratic sensitivities.

Giannis Oikonomou
Deputy minister to the prime minister of Greece and government spokesman
Athens, Greece

Source : Politico EU More   

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