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The German Enabling Act of 2012

Updated on October 16, 2012

The German Army is Enabled Again

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German Homeland Security and the War on Terror

Stratfor has reported that the German police have been carrying out raids on alleged Islamic Militant cells. These raids were not prompted by any specific threat of terrorism; instead they have been used to gather information from which intelligence can be created.

The intelligence, that has been derived from this excercise, seems to have been used as evidence to support a significant change in the German Constitution. This change will allow troops to be used operationally within Germany; during extreme circumstances. According to the Atlantic Council , the exact scenario under which troops will be operational involves domestic terrorism.

Germany is now ultimately following America and Great Britain on the subject of Homeland Security. There is reticence and inertia within Germany to do this, because of a strong historical precedent.

The Reichstag Fire

Germany's precedent for the Constitutional change and reason for political inertia
Germany's precedent for the Constitutional change and reason for political inertia

The Historical Precedent

The Reichstag Fire of 1933, was an act of domestic terror; executed by foreign terrorists. It ushered in the change that led to the rise of the Nazi Party by democratic process. The Constitutional change was known as the Enabling Act.This was exercised in a Constitutional process that facilitated the Nazi subversion of democracy in Germany. It is therefore no surprise that Germans are reticent about issues of domestic terrorism; especially when they cause changes in the Constitution leading to losses of civil liberty in the name of national security. They do not wish to have another Enabling Act.

This latest change is more worrisome, as it is being made in a vacuum; where no act of terrorism has yet occurred. Terrorism is anticipated, rather than being reacted to. Germany is trying to avoid another Reichstag moment.

There is an inherent conflict, between the requirement for democratic transparency and the need for secrecy to protect national security. German democracy is being pushed to the limits of credibility.

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    • KeySignals profile image
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      Crowdsourcerer 4 years ago from Dubai

      Thanks for this very feasible scenario Chris. The wheels of German democracy grind exceedingly slow and fine.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      Having screened through most German newsmedia from left to right wing i can only come with one explanation for the recent empowering act:

      The basis for all are the "Notstandsgesetze" from 1968. That empowering act was set up in 1968 in a political situation dominated by student and intellectual uprisings, the 68 movement in Europe. There was a loud outcry that democracy was endangered. Well, 40 years later there is a united Germany, you can argue a lot, but it is a functioning democracy.

      Then there was 9/11 and in 2001 in Germany government started to think about homeland security. It took until 2006 for the SPD/Green coalition to present a law. That law was pushed ironically by former secretary of the interior Otto Schily, who had been one of the lawyers to defend in the Bader/Meinhof case, along with Wolfgang Ströbele, today one of the frontmen of the left wing blog that you have cited.

      It took 5 years from 9/11 til 2006 to present a law. It took another 6 years to get an approval from the German supreme court. Apparently German jurisdiction and legislation is in slow gear. But that is the most feasible explanation i can come up with.

    • KeySignals profile image
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      Crowdsourcerer 4 years ago from Dubai

      Chris, as I asked you:

      "Why do you suppose that the German lawmakers chose now to make the changes?"

      Could you answer this please?

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      KeySignals: I went through all sources that you mentioned but couldn´t find anything new or particularly disturbing. As i said, i don´t like any empowering act, but it is ridiculous to think that armed forces that just recently were cut to 185.000 are being prepared for any European political or economic confrontation.

      How do you match the "key signals" of bringing down army size and doing some finetuning on an empowering act at the same time? You don´t need Stratfor to find out that German Armed Forces size is shrinking down to Greeces size (some 120.000 soldiers).

    • KeySignals profile image
      Author

      Crowdsourcerer 4 years ago from Dubai

      That's a fair point Chris. Hopefully the Stratfor and Atlantic Council sources in the main article balance the Left Wing source in the comments. Why do you suppose that the German lawmakers chose now to make the changes? They could have done it any time since 9/11. It seems very coincident with the deterioration of law and order in Southern Europe and the peak in the political crisis in the Eurozone.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      KeySignals: Come on, that is a very biased internet portal. Has strong roots in the PDS party. You know what the PDS is, do you?

      Anyhow, lets stick to neutral, please, not some left wing German partisan blogging. I can´t take that serious.

    • KeySignals profile image
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      Crowdsourcerer 4 years ago from Dubai

      Chris, please let me draw your attention to the following link

      http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/5...

      This scenario is not uniquely mine.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      KeySignals: Have we progressed so far to expect scenarios like you describe? I don´t think so. The western way of thinking and individualism prevents any kind of "state terrorism". As terrible as the Norwegian tragedy was, it was an act of an individual.

      Things only get dangerous, if terror is backed by governments. Debt crisis back and forth, there is no "state terrorism", don´t overestimate a mob burning a German flag or a newspaper frontpage of Mrs Merkel with a little moustache.

    • KeySignals profile image
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      Crowdsourcerer 4 years ago from Dubai

      Chris, please consider a scenario in which European terrorists, with a political affiliation in their home country, act in Germany; because they are unhappy with the way Germany is behaving in relation to the Debt Crisis. You see where this is going?

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      The German version of the homeland security act for air threat counteraction was drafted after Sept. 11 by the socialdemocrat/green administration of that time. However that act was seen to contradict with the "Grundgesetz" by the "Bundesverfassungsgericht". So nothing happened until now. Some finetuning of interpretation now opens ways to allow military assistance in case of national emergency.

      Assistance of the military was possible before, but was limited the means available to police and law enforcement. To be more specific: Tanks were not allowed before, but troops were. Now troops and tanks are allowed.

      I share with many people the uneasiness about empowering institutions in case of national emergency. I don´t like the Homeland Security Act and i don´t like the recent decision in Germany. But in democracy what all this has to do with 1933 and the "Reichtagsbrand" is beyond my imagination.

      By the way: the muslim community raid was done some time before the recent enabling act recalibration. I don´t see much coincidence there either.

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