December 4, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Sputnik.Germany Andrej Hunko, MP, interviewed by Armin Siebert, translated by Tom Winter –
Ramstein is illegal under international law and has to be closed – Hunko
The Federal Government has acknowledged that the US military base Ramstein is involved in American drone warfare. Ramstein is key in the monitoring and evaluation of drone strikes. This was put into motion by a request from Andrej Hunko from the Linkspartei. Sputnik has been following up on this.
Mr Hunko, the Federal Government has admitted for the first time that Ramstein has been monitoring and evaluating American drone strikes. Why did that take so long?
This is really bizarre. For the last two and a half years, we’ve been asking about Ramstein’s role in the US drone war. The public has long known from statements of drone pilots that Ramstein is a central relay station for this drone war. After many denials, there was finally the admission that Ramstein is fulfilling this function.
The Federal Government was already informed in August of this year by the US side. Now it’s December. If you had not asked yet one more time, would the Federal Government have said anything at all?
If we, as the Opposition, had not asked again, the government would not have. The Federal Government’s request to the US side came about only because of the pressure from us deputies. In fact, in August it was the first time that the United States officially acknowledged the fact that Ramstein had this role in their drone warfare.
The “planning, monitoring and evaluation of assigned air operations” was carried out from Ramstein, as the Federal Government states. What does that mean?
This means that Ramstein plays an indispensable and key role in drone warfare. Since, according to our assessment, the US drone war is in violation of international law and German law, Ramstein will have to be closed. There should be a review by the Federal Government.
What is the purpose of these drone attacks?
The drone operations run within the framework of the so-called International War Against Terror, in which suspected terrorists are hit by drones. This is because of lists which are drawn up in the US and which the American president must release every Tuesday. These are so-called extralegal executions and they happen in countries with which the USA is not in a state of war, i.e. In Yemen or in Pakistan. They get some terrorists, but also many innocent people. For many people in these regions, this means a permanent fear of drones that can fire at any time.
Will the Federal Government now draw any conclusions from this new information?
Of course, we will keep pushing. In particular, we will insist on an assessment of international law on the part of the Federal Government.
To what extent is the military use of drones, i.e. for killing, internationally regulated?
Not at all. That’s the problem. That is why for years, I have been calling for an international drone convention at the UN, analogous to the conventions on landmines or poison gas.
Furthermore, extralegal killing would have to be excluded. This has not been regulated internationally. The Council of Europe has adopted a very good resolution in which the parliamentary assembly calls on the individual EU governments to ensure that their soil is not used to support such illegal executions. In the end, however, an international convention is necessary.
Has Germany itself ever put such drones into service?
No, Germany does not have any combat drones, but does plan to develop a European one, which will probably not be ready before 2025. In the meantime, from 2019 onwards, they are going to lease them in Israel, the Heron TP, which will then start an Israeli military base for Germany for war operations. On the other hand, however, the US drone manufacturer General Atomics has lodged a complaint that they got passed over even though they made the better offer. This can delay the whole thing. But in general, it is decided by the Federal Government that from 2019 German combat drones will be available stationed in Israel.