SSG 3000

Sig Sauer’s sniper rifle that can shoot accurately over distances >1 kilometer.

The SSG 3000 has only been manufactured in Sig Sauer’s German facilities, i.e. not at their U.S. subsidiary.

Colombian police have confirmed that they have some SSG 3000’s. Yet Sig Sauer never got a German weapons export permit for Colombia for this gun.

(Ess   ess   gay   dry   TOWSE end.)

Grosse Zusammenhänge aus der Sipri-Friedensforschung

Big questions arising from Sipri’s peace research.

In an informal-sounding interview, a researcher from the peace studies institute in Stockholm described some questions observers have about international weapons sales.

Why did Greece need to buy so many guns and tanks?

Why does Saudi Arabia need so many high-tech weapons?

Will China start massively manufacturing and exporting arms?

What new weapons technologies will Russia develop?

Is there a connection between India’s problems with corruption and its status as the world’s biggest arms importer? The research director at Sipri said India’s biggest arms deal scandals involved companies from western countries.

I have some questions myself:

Is it a problem that the French government controls so many French arms manufacturers?

(GROW sah   tsoo ZOM en heng ah   owss   dare   SEE pree   FREE denz foah shoong.)


Reliability verification procedure.

This month the responsible federal bureaux apparently stopped processing Sig Sauer’s applications for weapons export permits while investigations continue into how Sig’s guns were found in Colombia and Kazakhstan despite export permits that said “United States.”

(Tsoo fair LESS ichh kites PROO foongz fair FAR en.)

Ausbau der globalen Regierungsbeziehungen unterstützen

“Provide support for the expansion of global governmental relations.”

This is from Rheinmetall’s description of Dirk Niebel’s new job.

Dirk Niebel (F.D.P.) was a federal development and foreign aid minister. He was probably on the Bundessicherheitsrat when it approved Rheinmetall’s billion-euro deal to sell a tank factory to Algeria. Now he is going to become Rheinmetall’s top lobbyist.

(OW! sb OW!   dare   glo ball ah   re GEAR oongs bets EE oong en   oon tah SHTIT zen.)


Arms exports report.

The Bundessicherheitsrat is a government board that meets secretly to approve German arms exports. Each deal must be separately approved as an exception to the Peace Clause in Germany’s constitution, yet so many are approved that Germany is the world’s #3 weapons exporter after the U.S.A. and Russia.

The permits issued by the Bundessicherheitsrat have been being published once each year in the annual arms exports report. The 2013 report was just published in June 2014, for example.

Reforms are under discussion. Critics of the current system say the report is being published too late and too infrequently. Now it was found that it’s too incomplete as well: The 2013 report did not mention a billion-euro deal to sell tanks, howitzers, mortars and masses of ammunition to Qatar that the previous coalition approved in March 2013.

Apparently it’s an accounting problem that happens to divide the reporting of these large arms deals up into the years of their partial deliveries, making them look smaller. It also happens to obscure when the Bundessicherheitsrat permitted these large deals.

(RISS toongs ex POT bear ICHH t.)


A fake debate.

The German defense ministry will be presenting their case Monday, 30 Jun 2014, in the Bundestag for why they must be allowed to buy and co-develop armed drones, unmanned airborne weapons platforms. But they’ve already decided, according to an “Einzelplan 14,” to buy Medium Altitude Long Endurance armable surveillance drones by late 2014. There are no longer M.A.L.E. drones that cannot be armed, said

The Bundeswehr is currently staying in Afghanistan until 2016, and they said they need to tool up with drones and close some “capability gaps” because they’re staying in Afghanistan.

One of the evening news shows said the new supermajority government’s coalition agreement promised a debate about drones. They said this in a way that implied that the coalition agreement only promised a debate.

Update: After the Bundestag talk, the defense minister announced the German military won’t be buying killer drones. It will be leasing them, from Israel.

(SHINE day BAT ah.)

Söldner- und Rüstungslobbyisten

Lobbying groups advocating for European military service providers and arms manufacturers include:

International Peace Operations Association, a lobbying group founded in 2001 in Washington, D.C., that represents the interests of mercenary companies around the world. G4S’s Defence Systems Limited was a cofounder, with five? other companies.

I.P.O.A. said they changed their name to International Stability Operations Association in 2010.

United Kingdom:

British Association of Private Security Companies.


Förderkreis Deutsches Heer, a German lobbying group. Founded in 1995, its members are politicians, soldiers and weapons manufacturers. A vice-president was apparently found guilty of corruption in a French-German tanks deal.

In 2009, some members of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee [Verteidigungsausschuss] were found to have not reported their involvement with the Förderkreis Deutsches Heer, including seats on its Präsidium board, though they were required to do so by the Bundestag’s rules of procedure. The Bundestag members said they didn’t have to because the association is a nonprofit organization and they were volunteering.

Gesellschaft für Wehr- und Sicherheitspolitik, a German association of military interests and government founded after World War II as a forum for discussion that would help safely re-arm Germany, something many people objected to. GfW says it does public relations work, via speakers and conferences. In 1999 it was accused of being a lobbying group for arms manufacturers and using taxpayer money to pay right-wing extremist speakers, and in 2007 it was accused of working with a French group founded by a former Nazi. In 2009, Lobbycontrol criticized that multiple Bundestag members had not sufficiently disclosed their side income from GfW. The GfW is also fragmented, into subgroups.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wehrtechnik, founded shortly after the GfW in 1957 apparently also as part of the move to re-arm Germany because it was created as an initiative of the procurement division of the Bundeswehr. Its members appear to be politicians and soldiers. This association says it is a neutral discussion and information platform to promote German security, military technology and military technology business, and knowledge about them.

In 2009, some members of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee [Verteidigungsausschuss] were found to have not reported that they were simultaneously on the Präsidium board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Wehrtechnik, though they were required to do so by the Bundestag’s rules of procedure. The Bundestag members said they forgot because the association is a nonprofit organization and they weren’t paid for being on its board.

Deutsche Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsindustrie, or Federation of German Security & Defence Industries (B.D.S.V.), was founded in 2009 and has the goals of improving the weapons industry’s image and awakening understanding for German arms manufacturers’ situation. In an article that mentioned this group, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said German weapons manufacturers are currently exporting nearly half their output, and that the Deutsche Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsindustrie estimated about 100,000 people were employed in this sector.

(ZILLED nah   oont   RISS toongs lobby ISSED en.)

“Gewisse Leichen ausm Keller des BMVg nachholen”

“She has to haul certain corpses out of the defense ministry’s cellar” at this stage, said a Leftists party spokesman about Germany’s new defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.). “Including these weapons projects.”

There was an uproar in the Bundestag after the Greens discovered the defense ministry made a 55-million euro payment to MTU in December 2013 without obtaining Bundestag approval or informing defense ministry management. The payment was compensation for a 2011 decision to reduce the German military’s Eurofighter order from 180 to 140 fighter jets. But budget rules require Bundestag approval for every single expenditure >25 million euros. Germany’s new defense minister said she was shocked and, said, invited all responsible persons in her ministry to a meeting of her predecessor’s so-called Arms Board [Rüstungsboard] on 19 Feb 2014 to discuss the defense department’s biggest procurement projects.

Update on 20 Feb 2014: New defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.) fired Thomas de Maizière’s state secretary Stéphane Beemelmans and her Weapons department head Detlef Selhausen, “both considered key figures in the Euro Hawk drone controversy” said ARD She announced plans to fundamentally reform the German military’s entire planning and procurement because costs and schedules for billion-euro projects are not transparent, she said. ARD said at this stage corruption cannot be ruled out in the defense ministry and in its complex interrelationships with German industry.

Over the next three months, the German military is going to “transilluminate” [durchleuchten] its ~1200 procurement projects, including gathering suggestions for how they can be better accompanied/managed/monitored and controlled/inspected/checked [begleitet und kontrolliert].

Update on 04 Apr 2014: The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that some major defense procurement projects continue despite the new minister’s freeze.

“Although important decisions have been postponed or cast into question for some large arms orders, other major projects are ongoing, such as delivery of the new A400M transport plane (which has a long history of delays and cost overruns) and the new Puma armored tank (in which many initial deficiencies were found).” And, especially, the defense ministry is quietly preparing for a project that will cost billions, called the TLVS, taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, a new generation of missile defense that will include new missiles, radar equipment, command centers and networking capabilities.

Ten years ago Germany began working with the U.S. and Italy on the new missile defense, called Meads, and has spent about a billion euros on prototypes since then. TLVS project requirements include “360-degree radar and a modular system in which any new components, such as launching platforms or other defense missiles, can be added. The defense batteries should be rapidly transportable by plane to distant theaters.” The defense department is looking at five options for this project, including using Lockheed’s Meads, Raytheon’s Patriots, or combinations of the two. German defense hawks will try to persuade other countries to join in development and deployment, lowering Germany’s costs for both. Vladimir Putin is helping with this by creating interest in missile defense in e.g. Poland and the Netherlands.

(G’VISS ah   LIE chh en   ow! sem   KELLAH   dess   BOON dess min iss TARE ee oom   fir   fair TIED ee goong   NAW chh hole en.)

Denkende Drohnen

“Thinking drones,” a wide spectrum of autonomous unmanned flying weapons systems, large and small, described in the Pentagon strategy paper for 2013 to 2038 called the Unmanned Integrated Systems Roadmap.

From a summary of the 168-page document: Short-term, the Pentagon wants to add weapons to existing drones, including arming unmanned helicopters. Medium-term, developing smaller and more precise weapons specifically for drones. Long-term, autonomous “thinking” unmanned systems.

There will be drones that are weapons, such as the “Switchblade” minidrone and a “swarm of intelligent munitions” called L.O.C.A.A.S., low-cost autonomous attack system, to find and blow up moving targets.

(DENG kenned ah   DRONE en.)

Eine perfide Erfindung

A perfidious invention: barrel bombs the Assad government is throwing out of helicopters onto residential urban areas of Syria. The steel barrels contain accelerant and e.g. nails, for large possibly napalm-like explosions that distribute sharp shrapnel. Opposition sources indicated these hardware-store bombs are being used for terrorism of civilians living in rebel-controlled areas; one was dropped near a school for example.

Meanwhile, the peaceful protesters who tried to oust the violent Assad family by nonviolent means and then understandably fled the country in droves suffered in an unusual blizzard last month, which dropped ~40 cm of snow on Jerusalem in early December 2013. German news showed footage of families living in tents on frozen dirt floors, with plastic tarp walls not even keeping out the wind, in Jordan, or a dozen people crowded into one unheated room with a weeping wet ceiling in Lebanon. Asking for several billion dollars in aid, especially from wealthy neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the United Nations estimated the number of Syrian refugees would increase to several million in the next year, while three-quarters of Syria’s population might experience food shortages. There’s talk too of a lost generation because, it was estimated in a U.N.H.C.R. report, ~3 million Syrian children aren’t attending school because of the war.

Update on 29 Dec 2013: said a “rebel-friendly human rights organization” reported that Syria’s air force used the dreaded barrel bombs to blow up an open-air fruit-and-veg market in Aleppo’s old city on a Saturday morning.

Update on 19 Apr 2014: ZDF heute journal said the Assad troops dropped >300 barrel bombs from helicopters in March 2014; it’s unclear whether that was just over Aleppo or all battle zones in Syria.
For what it’s worth, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper said the Assads are hiring foreign mercenaries as pilots, possibly because some Syrian troops have refused to fly these helicopters.

(Eye nah   peah FEE dah   eah FINNED oong.)

Russische Raketenstationierung

Russian missile emplacement.

Moscow confirmed on 16 Dec 2013 that it had put short-range mobile SS-26, “Iskander” or “Stone” missiles on its western borders that could travel approx. 500 kilometers. From Kaliningrad in the island territory formerly known as East Prussia, an ARD graphic showed for example, a circle with a 500-km radius could reach all of Poland and Lithuania and even pieces of Sweden and Finland, though perhaps not quite Berlin.

These missiles travel at several times the speed of sound and were first deployed against Georgia in 2008, said.

(ROOSS ish ah   rock ATE en shtah tsee own EAR oong.)

Ingenieurentruppe privatisieren

“Privatizing a troop of engineers,” the ~2800 elite engineers in Britain’s Defence Support Group which is responsible for maintaining and purchasing high-tech weapons systems such as fighter jets, tanks and troop transporters, said

Spiegel said London is ignoring the U.S.A.’s request not to sell off the unit. The U.K. military fears the sale would result in loss of institutional knowledge, loss of control over military secrets, exposure to boycott risk and other problems. Spiegel said the Observer said the official call for bids to buy D.S.G. will go out in a few days despite lots of domestic opposition to the plan, which didn’t stop Mr. Cameron’s government from e.g. privatizing the Royal Mail.

The article said the U.S.A.’s notoriously tight control over military technology it shares with allies was circumvented by Tony Blair in 2007 when he worked out a simplified sharing agreement in the throes of the wars. George W. Bush agreed to share important anti-terrorism military technology using streamlined processes and without requiring export licenses.

(Inn jen YOO er en troop ah   pree vot eez EAR en.)


“Devil’s stuff,” the chemical weapons Syria agreed to destroy with international partners, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. A schedule has been set for the most dangerous of them, mustard gas and sarin gas, with collection before 31 Dec 2013 and destruction before 30 Jun 2014.

Update on 16 Nov 2013: Protesters in Albania succeeded in getting their president to promise not to use Albanian facilities to destroy Syrian chemical weapons. Their concern was understandable. Everyone’s reluctance is understandable. Albania had been asked by the U.S.A. if they would take on the job because Albania had experience destroying its own chemical weapons. Germany still has some facilities that have been used to destroy old munitions and unexploded bombs that keep turning up from the world wars. Syria’s weapons might be destroyed by incineration at very high temperatures or by chemical “hydrolysis” cleavage, said ARD correspondent Rolf-Dieter Krause. “Both are quite dicey methods whose control requires experience and very safe technical systems.”

Update on 30 Nov 2013: The U.S.A. offered to destroy 500 tons of the most dangerous of these military materials on board a ship and to pay for it. The O.P.C.W. announced that after that another 800 tons would be destroyed by specialist companies. The elimination is a little behind schedule because many countries that were asked to help destroy the chemical weapons regretfully declined to do so.

Update on 13 Dec 2013: All chemical weapon production sites in Syria are said to have been destroyed. Deadly chemicals from Syria’s arsenal will be transported on volunteered Danish and Norwegian ships to a huge U.S. Navy vessel that will destroy them via chemical cleavage and neutralization, in about two weeks, said Jan van Aken, former U.N. weapons inspector, environmentalist and now bioweapons and chemical weapons-specializing Bundestag member (Leftists party). “Helicopters, aircraft carriers and fighter jets will have to secure the Cape Rae” during the destruction process, said ZDF heute journal correspondent Roland Strumpf. The process will create >7 million liters of toxic waste water. The other residues left over from the substances will be stored in drums. The current cold snap in the Middle East, which just dumped forty cm of snow on Jerusalem, is a problem for the initial truck transport of the >1000 tons of poison gas; presumably the U.S. and other countries will be monitoring those transports via satellite imagery and other tracking.

Update on 10 Jan 2014: A company owned by Germany’s federal government in Munster will be participating in the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by eliminating some of the degradation products produced by the breakdown of mustard gas. Several hundred tons of the diluted residues will remain after combustion on the Cape Ray, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons asked Germany for help with them in addition to the 5 million euros the country pledged to the project. The chancellor’s new defense minister told reporters Germany has the methods and technology to combust these residues down to nothing, with equipment still being used to dispose of unexploded bombs still being dug up from W.W.II.

Reporting on the methods and quantities involved in this project is starting to contradict itself, but the spirit of cooperation, multiplicity of partners and good intentions on all sides to “unsharpen” the conflict in Syria is wonderfully welcome.

Update on 23 Jun 2014: The Syrian government announced that all the chemical weapons scheduled to be destroyed have been destroyed.

(TOY fells TSOY g.)


Arms industry.

More names of German arms manufacturers seem to be mentioned in thrillers and suspense novels set in the U.S. than are named in the German news, hence the following incomplete list of European-continent weaponmakers:


The German military is selling its used weapons to countries around the world on a large scale.

Airbus (was E.A.D.S.):

Germany’s biggest arms exporter, at >12 billion euros sales in 2010, ~27% of its total sales, reported Airbus’s old defense & security division, named Cassidian, manufactures e.g. the Eurofighter jet at its largest plant near Ingolstadt, with another plant at Unterschleißheim outside Munich (both in Bavaria). Airbus makes an A400M troop transporter, Tiger combat helicopter, “N.A.T.O. helicopter 90” with problematic autopilot, monitoring systems, electronica and missiles. With Thyssen, Airbus purchased a naval electronics firm.

Update on 30 Jul 2013: The Munich-based Airbus announced it was combining its Cassidian (weaponry), Astrium (aerospace) and Airbus Military branches into one “aerospace and arms,” Raumfahrt und Rüstung or Defense and Space division which will be headquartered at Ottobrunn, outside Munich.

Notoriously-investigated-for-corruption people involved with Airbus have included: company co-creator and then chairman Franz Josef Strauß (C.S.U.) and arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.


Düsseldorf-based company (North Rhine-Westphalia) that’s apparently one of the world’s biggest defense manufacturers, making Combat Systems, Electronic Solutions and Wheeled Vehicles at factories around the world. Anti-aircraft systems, munitions. Tanks include the Fuchs, the fox, and others: Rheinmetall is partnering with Kraus-Maffei Wegmann to build the Puma tank and the air-conditioned Leopard 2 tank. 2 billion euros in arms sales in 2010, about half its total sales, reported

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 1.5 million euros to persuade the Greek military to buy the “Asrad” anti-missile system manufactured by Rheinmetall in a joint venture with the Swedish Saab company.


Headquartered in the German towns of Essen and Duisburg (North Rhine-Westphalia), this steel company has shipyards that make navy boats and submarines, including the U212 and U214 that use electric drives quietly powered by a fuel cell. With Airbus, Thyssen purchased a naval electronics firm. ThyssenKrupp made about 1.2 billion euros in weapons sales in 2010, reported

Notoriously-investigated-for-corruption people involved with Thyssen have included: Karlheinz Schreiber.

Update on 03 Dec 2013: ThyssenKrupp recently raised some capital by selling ~50 million shares at ~17 euros each. The increase in stock meant the most important shareholder the Krupp Foundation, which didn’t buy in this time, lost its blocking minority. With the foundation’s ownership in the company dropping to ~23% from ~25%, it could no longer block decisions made at shareholders’ meetings [Hauptversammlung] and thus defend the firm against hostile takeovers and being sold off in pieces [Zerschlagung] by vetoing e.g. fusions, changes made to who’s on the supervisory board, changes to the articles of association or dissolution of the company, elaborated. As long as the Krupp Foundation owned ≤25% they were entitled to three seats on ThyssenKrupp’s supervisory board; under 25%, only two seats.

The reduction in the Krupp Foundation’s power within ThyssenKrupp might have increased the power of Cevian, a 20-employee Swedish firm that buys and sells companies but dislikes being called a hedge fund, wrote Sü “One of Europe’s most profitable private equity companies,” Sü wrote, Cevian announced it had increased its ownership in ThyssenKrupp to ~6% in September and then nearly 11% after the recent stock sale. Managed by investors Christer Gardell and Lars Förberg, Cevian tends to buy a company’s stock, drive up the stock price and sell after a few years, Sü said, adding that Mr. Gardell has been accused in Swedish media of being a Gordon Gecko-type butcher [“Schlachter“] who likes to break up firms and sell them off piece by piece.


Company based in Nuremberg, Bavaria, that sells missiles. 1.5 billion euros in weapons-industry sales in 2010, about ~27% of its total sales, reported


Munich-based transport company that ordered the submarines built at the Thyssen shipyards for which some German prosecutors thought bribes had been paid to government procurement officials in Greece. In 2011, Volkswagen acquired control of MAN SE.

Krauss Maffei Wegmann, KMW:

Munich-based company, with a location in Kassel, that manufactures tanks and self-propelled artillery. It’s a family firm whose main shareholders are the brothers Manfred Bode and Wolfgang Bode. Kraus-Maffei is partnering with Rheinmetall to build the Puma tank and the air-conditioned Leopard 2 tank. reported that Kraus-Maffei is one of the few German companies that only makes weapons, with about 900 million euros in arms sales in 2010.

KMW was named by a man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts. He told Athens prosecutors that he accepted bribes from weapons manufacturers in Germany, France, Russia, U.S.A. and Israel, and specifically from KMW to purchase 170 Leopard 2 tanks. KMW denied this was the case, saying Greece bought the tanks in 2003 after Antonios K. had left his procurement post. Mr. K. also said KMW paid him nearly three-quarters of a million euros to buy artillery.

Update on 21 May 2014: Munich prosecutors are investigating two former Bundestag members (S.P.D.) for taking 5 million euros in a 200-million-euro sale of PzH 2000 tank howitzers to Greece’s defense ministry a decade ago. Some of the money was spent on bribes to Greek officials, investigators think. The corruption statutes of limitation have probably expired so they’re looking into tax fraud aspects. The two S.P.D. politicians worked for K.M.W. as consultants after their Bundestag careers. Dagmar Luuk was chair of the Bundestag’s German-Greek Parliamentary Group with good connections to the S.P.D.’s sister party Pasok in Athens, and Heinz-Alfred Steiner was deputy chair of its Defense Committee.

Update on 26 May 2014: Munich prosecutors are investigating Kraus-Maffei Wegmann’s C.E.O., Frank Haun, and five former managers for tax fraud for deducting bribes paid in the Greek arms deal as operating expenses.

Heckler & Koch:

Southwest German company that exports guns that get mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Headquartered in the tiny Rottweiler town of Oberndorf am Neckar, a centuries-old weapons industry center according to Wikipedia. H&K became British-owned in 1991 when BAe’s Royal Ordnance division acquired it, merging into defence giant BAE in 1999. A recent article said an important H&K investor has been the London-based German investment banker Andreas Heeschen, who signed papers buying the company in Dec. 2002 with his partner Keith Halsey and the BAE subsidiary Royal Ordnance. Another German, Alfred Schefenacker, the son of a man who founded a famous car mirrors manufacturer in Baden-Württemberg, bought in with 5% in 2010. quoted an arms-industry-briefed Bundestag member from the Leftists party as speculating that a weapons manufacturer might be forced to export more aggressively and less selectively in order to stay afloat after a “financial shark” starts pulling money out of the company. The newspaper cited examples of a world-leader, “quality” garden tools manufacturer that went bankrupt five years after Mr. Heeschen bought it, and a soap manufacturer he purchased and kept in an “existentially threatening” situation according to an auditor interviewed by Wirtschaftwoche, wrote. Heckler & Koch has appeared to be struggling with heavy debt burdens: a 2010 lawsuit by four U.S. hedge fonds against Mr. Heeschen’s handling of debt agreements for the company alleged he and his people were using H&K “like a personal piggy bank” and had pulled $130 million out of the company, buying vacation homes, yachts and airplanes for personal use, according to court documents Wirtschaftswoche had seen. H&K denied this: “The private use of investment objects by shareholders” was always “privately paid for” by said shareholders.

Stuttgart prosecutors, regular police and a customs police investigated Heckler & Koch for violation of the Kriegswaffenkontroll- und Außenwirtschaftsgesetz [“War weapons control and foreign trade law”] after their guns turned up in countries for which no export licenses had been issued: rural Mexico, Georgia vs. Russia in 2008, Libya in 2011. The article quoted the same source as adding that “A third investigation will be looking into suspected bribery of foreign and German officeholders.” H&K and Mr. Heeschen denied that the company illegally exported weapons to countries not on their permit lists, but later an in-house letter in April 2013 told H&K employees it appeared likely that two long-term employees, lone gunmen acting alone, had in fact exported H&K guns directly to Mexico on purpose and not by accident via e.g. the U.S.A., said. The investigation was still ongoing in late August 2013.

H&K has also been criticized in Germany for helping build and supply gun factories in Saudi Arabia, turning that country into an arms exporter in addition to an enthusiastic arms importer. Their Saudi partner MIC (Military Industries Corporation) has since been selling these guns at international weapons shows and on the internet. Mr. Heeschen insisted every MIC sale from the joint venture had been reported to and approved by the proper German authorities.

H&K appears to have declined to protect its gun brands in gaming, with the result that, said, their guns appear in almost every shooter game with the concomitant marketing effects but the company doesn’t have to defend the ethics of licensing that.

Mauser, Feinwerkbau:

Other German gun manufacturers that have been based in Oberndorf am Neckar. The two guys who run L&O Holding said their company owned Mauser, in a 2010 interview in the Emsdettener Volkszeitung linked to by Sü


Gun manufacturer in Ulm (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border). Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Carl Walther:

Gun manufacturer in Ulm (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border) that is owned by PW Group.

Update on 02 Jul 2014: Süddeutsche Zeitung said prosecutors are investigating Heckler & Koch and Carl Walther for illegally exporting weapons from Germany to Mexico and Colombia.


Gun manufacturer in Arnsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia) that is owned by PW Group.

PW Group:

Holding company based in Arnsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Sauerland) that owns Walther and Umarex and has donated to U.S. gun lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association and/or the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

SIG Sauer:

Switzerland’s Swiss Arms’s German subsidiary, a gun manufacturer headquartered in northernmost Germany, almost in Denmark. Sü reported that in 2013 Swiss Arms belonged to the German investment company L&O Holding.

Update on 02 Jul 2014: Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR said internal documents and statements from multiple insiders at SIG Sauer indicate the company got a German export permit to send pistols to its U.S. subsidiary knowing they would be sent on to police in Colombia. This violates the Bundessicherheitsrat’s export permit conditions, which I don’t know. Customs police and Kiel prosecutors have been investigating since May 2014, but lacked evidence that the German firm knew what would happen to the pistols. Now these internal documents from the company headquarters in Eckernförde were found to contain the words “Customer in Colombia,” as well as an internal warning from a corporate lawyer that the two-step export was “most strictly verboten” and could have “harsh penalties.”

The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo is said to have mentioned that Sig Sauer might have paid bribes in Colombia and that German federal police [Bundeskriminalamt] and customs police [Zollkriminalamt] are in Bogotá to investigate.

Kiel prosecutors are also investigating Sig Sauer for sending pistols to Kazachstan’s presidential guard, again via the U.S. subsidiary.


Gun manufacturer in Isny im Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border) that is owned by L&O Holding.

L&O Holding:

Part of a “Holding-Geflecht” [holdings meshwork, lattice; interwoven holding companies] run by Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier of Emsdetten (North Rhine-Westphalia). Sü reported that L&O donated to the National Rifle Association according to N.R.A. documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Update on 18 Jul 2014: Mr. Lüke and Mr. Ortmeier are said to have made their fortune in textiles, then in 2000 entered the arms industry by buying Sig Sauer, Swiss Arms, Blaser and Mauser. Mr. Ortmeier is said to mainly take care of their textiles interests while Michael Lüke runs the guns companies, said Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the Commercial Registry [Handelsregister] he has been Sig’s C.E.O. [Geschäftsführer] for years, “sometimes alone.” “In most L&O Holding weapons companies, his name is on the registration documents. The same is true for awkward in-house confidential documents.” Süddeutsche, NDR and WDR said they saw Sig Sauer export documentation listing Mr. Lüke as Ausfuhrverantwortlicher, person responsible for exports.


Paid 149 million euros in late 2011 to conclude a trial for bribing officials in Greece and Portugal to buy submarines. In the Greek bribery story unfolding in December 2013, schmier was paid in Greece to accelerate sales of the U-214 submarine built at the HDW company’s shipyard in Kiel on the northern coast but sold to the Greek military with the Essen-based Ferrostaal’s help (North Rhine-Westphalia). The Greek defense official found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors he received bribes in the U-214 deal from an employee of the Atlas company, which kits out submarines and is now majority-owned by ThyssenKrupp.

Tognum, now Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding:

Group that manufactures tank and naval engines, based in Friedrichshafen (Baden-Württemberg). It includes non-aircraft divisions from Daimler’s spun-off MTU; MTU’s aircraft engine manufactories became the Munich-based MTU Aero Engines.

Update on 07 Mar 2014: Daimler plans to sell its shares in what was known as Tognum to its partners at Rolls Royce. According to, Daimler first spun off the company under the name of MTU Friedrichshafen in 2005, selling it to the investor EQT. They renamed it Tognum and held an initial stock offering in 2007. In 2008, Daimler bought in again. In a 2011 joint venture, Daimler and Rolls Royce purchased the company entirely and took it back off the stock exchange. Tognum’s name was changed to Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding in early 2014.

MTU Aero Engines:

A Daimler-Chrysler subsidiary headquartered in Munich that makes jet fighter engines among other things. Owned by New York private equity company KKR from 2003 to 2005; Wikipedia said KKR said they sold all their MTU stock on German stock exchanges in 2005. reported MTU Aero made 486 million euros in weapons sales in 2010, 18% of its total sales.

Update on 19 Feb 2014: Uproar in the Bundestag after the Greens discovered the responsible Bundestag committee made a 55-million euro payment to MTU in December 2013 without obtaining Bundestag approval as was necessary. The payment was compensation for a 2011 decision to reduce the German military’s Eurofighter order from 180 to 140 fighter jets. But budget rules require the ministry to obtain approval from the Bundestag’s budget committee [Haushaltsausschuss] for every single expenditure >25 million euros. The two state secretaries responsible for making the payment apparently did not consult with the defense ministry’s management [Hausleitung] as prescribed either. Germany’s new defense minister said she was shocked and, said, invited all responsible persons in her ministry to an Arms Board [Rüstungsboard] meeting to discuss the defense department’s biggest procurement projects. After the meeting, she fired the two state secretaries and said the Bundeswehr will be thoroughly examining its ~1200 procurement projects over the next three months.


Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Military Vehicles exports them around the world, including to the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg.


Huge electronics and trains manufacturer in Erlangen, Bavaria, that partnered with IBM to replace the Bundeswehr’s “information and communications technology,” codenamed Projekt Herkules. Costs originally promised at 6.8 billion euros now expected to run to at least 7.8 billion, as estimated by the Association of German Taxpayers [Steuerzahlerbund e.V.] which tries to track German military cost overruns.


Headquartered in Munich, this surveillance technology firm was originally created at Siemens twenty years ago, where it was called Voice & Data Recording. It was combined into an Intelligence Solutions department at the joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks in 2007, alleges German Wikipedia, and sold to a Munich firm of private investors in 2009. The company has branches in Dubai, Pakistan and Kuala Lumpur. Only governments are said to purchase Trovicor products, such as their “Monitoring Center” (formerly “Siemens Monitoring Center”).

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.


A German company the French company Qosmos said bought their deep packet inspection components to sell them to the Italian surveillance company Area SpA which was building a surveillance system for the Assad regime in Syria that was used to torture people. Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks shows that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.


A Munich company specializing in tools for monitoring and analyzing data from just about any communications network.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

FinFisher or FinSpy, a.k.a. Gamma, Gamma International GmbH, FinFisher GmbH:

A joint English-German (Munich) enterprise that sells software exploits to governments. E.g., “The FinFly Exploit Portal offers access to a large library of 0-Day and 1-Day Exploits for popular software like Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and many more.” They sell products for accessing e.g. computers and phones, with packages for e.g. remote intrusion or U.S.B. stick penetration sold together with training for remarkably low prices. Clients include governments such as Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, it is alleged. Citizen Lab in Toronto found traces of their software in Brunei, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates, and in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

English Wikipedia alleged that the umbrella company, Gamma Group, specializes in surveillance and monitoring and is owned by a man with an English name via a shell company in an offshore tax paradise. German Wikipedia alleged that that man’s son now owns the company (85%) while a man with a German name owns the other 15%, and that the German government supports the company by providing export credit guarantees [Hermesbürgschaft, Hermesdeckung].

Update on 11 Apr 2014: Gamma is said to have sold a trojan program to the government of Bahrain that was used to attack government critics.

German manager and co-owner Martin Münch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that his firm never violated German weapons export laws, but the S.Z. commented that this is not as exemplary as it sounds because the software is not shipped from Germany but from England. The same European dual-use regulation applies in England and Germany for the export of surveillance technology, S.Z. said, but for attack software it merely requires the purchasing country to create a certificate affirming all is properly installed as agreed and send that certificate to the exporter, who archives it. Neither Mr. Münch nor the responsible German Economy Ministry wanted to tell the newspaper how often the government inspects the certificates and the accuracy of their contents.

S.Z. said information from WikiLeaks shows that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.


Hessian software company that admitted in 2011 they’d sold software that could be behind the Bundestrojaner to the Bavarian government in 2007. They sold similar surveillance software to state and federal governments in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

According to Deutsche Welle’s 2011 article,

“an online record on an official European Union website shows that in 2009 the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) paid DigiTask over 660,000 euros ($897,000) for the construction of a ‘wiretap testing and monitoring system.'”

D.W. said a Bavarian attorney said this trojan was installed on his client’s laptop at the Munich airport.

Rohde & Schwarz:

Die Zeit described this company as a weapons manufacturer. Nominally, the company makes and sells “high-frequence measurement technology, radio communication, television broadcasters, radio broadcasters, locational technology and surveillance technology” according to de.wikipedia and “Cellular, Wireless Connectivity, Navigation, Broadcast TV and Radio” according to en.wikipedia. They’re based in Munich with facilities in the Czech Republic, U.S., Singapore, Korea, China, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Singapore and Malaysia, among others.


Swiss company that makes armored vehicles. Founded in 1950 in Switzerland, it is now owned by the U.S. weapons manufacturer General Dynamics. In 2003, General Dynamics merged it with Spain’s Santa Barbara Sistemas and Austria’s Steyr Spezialfahrzeug to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

Update on 06 Mar 2014: The Swiss parliament voted 94 to 93 to overturn a ban on exporting weapons to countries with human rights problems. Proponents for overturning the ban said Swiss companies shouldn’t be disadvantaged economically because they can’t sell weapons to e.g. Saudi Arabia like e.g. Sweden or Austria. What’s funny is that the article reporting this showed tanks made by Mowag AG, which belongs to the U.S.A.’s General Dynamics, which also owns the Austrian competitor.

Swiss UAV:

Switzerland-headquartered drone manufacturer that has partnered with Sweden’s Saab Group.

BAE Systems:

British firm that’s one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers, called Europe’s second-largest after General Dynamics in July 2014. Said to make jet fighters, military submarines, aircraft carriers and bits of French nuclear weapons, though they announced they’d discontinued their production of land mines and cluster bombs after public protest. Buys, sells and owns pieces of many other weapons manufacturers around the world.

BAE manufactures a competitor to Krauss Maffei Wegmann’s “Leopard 2” tank, called the “Challenger.”

Serious corruption investigations of BAE apparently by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, the U.K.’s National Audit Office, the U.S.’s Department of Justice and a Tanzanian prosecutor whose life was threatened, about sales to countries such as Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the Czech Republic, Romania, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.


British aircraft engine manufacturer that makes jet fighter engines, submarine nuclear reactors. Partnered with Bavarian car-maker BMW, who bought their car-manufacturing subsidiary.


Trans-European missile manufacturer that’s been acquiring missile companies from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, U.K. and U.S.A.

MDBA’s German branch, which used to be called LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH, makes “smart bombs,” cruise missiles or guided missiles. It was headquartered outside Munich but has been moved to a small town near Ingolstadt, Bavaria.

While touring Kurdistan in January 2014, Bundestag member Jan van Aken (Leftists) and journalists traveling with him were shown Milan anti-tank missiles, manufactured by MDBA in a German-French partnership, that Al Qaeda is now using to fight in Syria. It’s not clear exactly how these particular bombs got to where they were found, but Germany sold thousands of Milan missiles to the Assad government in the 1970’s. Now Al Qaeda-affiliated groups have managed to divert some and are fighting with them. Although France was usually listed as the seller of these “so-called small arms,” NDR wrote, Germany had a veto right to stop any sales. Islamist rebel groups have apparently uploaded videos of themselves plundering Assad-family weapons caches that include Milan missiles. Syrian videos have also been uploaded showing the missiles in use, including ones of more recent manufacture than the 1970’s.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 400,000 euros to persuade the Greek military to buy Exocet missiles manufactured by MDBA.


The famous Swedish car company was apparently only a subsidiary to a large Swedish aerospace and defense manufacturer. Sometimes partners with the U.K.’s BAE. They make unmanned aerial systems, aerostructures, fighter jets, unmanned underwater vehicles, sensor systems, jammer systems, “signature management systems,” missiles, torpedoes, ground combat weapons, remotely operated (ground) vehicles, radar systems for land, sea and air, electronic defense systems, and provide military training and education. Military jets include the Gripen.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 1.5 million euros to persuade the Greek military to buy the “Asrad” anti-missile system manufactured by Rheinmetall in a joint venture with Saab. Antonios K. also said he received ~240,000 euros to encourage purchase of Saab’s Arthur locatory radar system.


The Swedish truck manufacturer has an arms branch, because there was talk about it as a possible candidate for a merger with Krauss Maffei Wegmann.

Volvo owns the French company Renault Trucks Defense, which is partnering with the Russian arms manufacturer Uralwagonsawod (under U.S. sanction for destabilizing eastern Ukraine) to develop a tank. Uralwagonsawod said in June 2014 that the project was still on schedule. Volvo will be providing the tanks’ engines.


Italian defense contractor that has delivered to the Assad government in Syria. In partnership with various firms around the world, Finmeccanica makes jet fighters, military aircraft, helicopters, space stuff, defense electronics, security electronics, “defense systems.” The Italian government still owns a stake in the company. Two recent C.E.O.’s have had to step down after corruption charges. In a 2013 article, said about Finmeccanica that “Italy’s largest manufacturer of planes and weapons is said to have passed opulent bribes to foreign customers, from which admittedly a portion had to flow back to the donors.”

Hacking Team:

Milan-based firm that sells surveillance software to governments, including ones with questionable human rights records.

Area SpA:

An Italian software company based outside Milan that was building a surveillance system for the Assads in Syria, according to the French firm Qosmos. The German company Utimaco was also involved, Qosmos said.

Beretta, Benelli, Franchi:

Italian companies that export guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Listed as “corporate partners” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).


Italian industrial vehicles manufacturer, under Fiat, that makes armored vehicles.

When Sergej Schojgu became the Russian defense minister in early 2013, he immediately canceled the purchase of 1275 armored vehicles from Iveco, said the F.A.Z. The Russian military had to buy the deal’s first tranche of 1775 vehicles for 1.5 billion euros, but they said they were only doing it to avoid breach of contract.


Austrian company that exports guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).


Austrian company that exports guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries.

Steyr Spezialfahrzeug:

Austrian company that makes armored vehicles. General Dynamics bought it from the U.S. car manufacturer General Motors’s weapons division in 2003 and merged it with Spain’s Santa Barbara Sistemas and Switzerland’s Mowag in 2003 to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

FN Herstal:

Fabrique National d’Herstal, Belgium, which Wikipedia alleges is Europe’s largest small arms manufacturer and owns the famous U.S. firms Winchester (U.S. Repeating Arms Company) and Browning. Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Dassault Group:

French company whose subsidiaries e.g. manufacture aerospace vehicles and equipment, fighter jets, missiles, logistics systems and military simulators. It owns France’s second-largest newspaper of record, Le Figaro.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 800,000 euros to persuade the Greek military to buy “Mirage 2000”-type fighter jets manufactured by Dassault.


French company majority-owned by the French government that makes Armaris submarines, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and e.g. amphibious assault ships. DCNS and Thales partnered to create the Armaris submarine manufacturer.

Investigated in France for allegations of bribery in e.g. Malaysia and Taiwan.

DCNS manufactured the two helicopter carriers France still wants to deliver to the Russian navy in the fall of 2014.


Large French defense manufacturer, partly owned by the French government. Thales and DCNS partnered to create the Armaris submarine manufacturer.

Wikipedia said a financial advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma’s A.N.C. party “was found guilty of organizing a bribe on behalf of Thales” and the World Bank has blacklisted Thales for bribery. Thales was told to pay the biggest bribery fine in modern French history in the 2011 resolution of a 1991 case involving the sale of frigates to Taiwan, a dead Taiwanese procurement officer and alleged large ferbribery slush funds in Swiss bank accounts, back when the company was called Thomson-CSF.


Montpellier-based French firm that calls itself “The Leading Provider of Defensive and Offensive Cyber Security Intelligence.”


French company that sold deep packet inspection software, matériel de surveillance, to the Assad regime in Syria. After complaints from human rights organizations, the French government is now investigating this company for assisting to commit torture.

In 2012, Qosmos said it didn’t sell the software directly to the Assads. Instead, the company said, before quitting the project in 2011 they sold the software to a German firm called Utimaco, who sold it to an Italian firm called Area, who handled things from there. Also, Qosmos said, when they dropped out in 2011 the software wasn’t finished yet and couldn’t be fully implemented. In a recent response to the media, Qosmos still said they didn’t sell to Syria. Qosmos said they don’t sell surveillance systems, merely components that their clients can put into things.


Renault Trucks Defense has been working on a project since early 2013 with the Russian arms manufacturer Uralwagonsawod (which is on the U.S.’s sanctions list for contributing to the destabilization of eastern Ukraine). They are developing a tank. The Russian side said the first functioning prototype should be available in September 2015.

In early April 2014 the French side said the proect had been suspended, but in late June 2014 Oleg Sijenko, the C.E.O. of the Russian side, said the E.U. sanctions had not affected the project. The government of France is said to want to please Uralwagonsawod because it is the majority shareholder of the French steelworks Sambre et Meuse, which employs ~300 people.

Renault Trucks Defense is owned by the Swedish arms manufacturer Volvo.

Santa Barbara Sistemas:

Spanish company that makes armored vehicles, weapons systems and ammunition. Acquired by the U.S. weapons manufacturer General Dynamics in 2001. General Dynamics combined it with Austria’s Steyr Spezialfahrzeug and Switzerland’s Mowag in 2003 to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

General Dynamics:

Europe’s biggest weapons manufacturer, followed by BAE and, if their merger goes through, the combined Krauss Maffei Wegmann and Nexter tank and artillery manufacturers.

(RISSSS toongs in dooze tree.)


“Federal German Security Council,” which must approve German weapons exports.

Approved arms exports to Gulf states increased in 2013 (~800 million euros in the first half of 2013; ~1400 million in 2012; ~500 million in 2011). For example, apparently this council approved sales of 24 “haubitze 2000” and 62 “leopard 2” tanks to Qatar last spring, but Qatar’s neighbors Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates apparently also tooled up, according to a response to queries from the opposition Leftists (Die Linken) party. German arms exports to governments without good recent human rights histories remain heavily criticized by the pre-Sept. 22 opposition to Chancellor Merkel’s pre-Sept. 22 government.

The ARD report mentioned that in Germany arms exports are “poison” for incumbents in election years, which is why, they said, people inside the weapons industry said the C.D.U./C.S.U. + F.D.P. government postponed the decision on whether to approve some further arms exports such as >100 tanks to Saudi Arabia until after Germany’s national election on 22 Sep 2013.

Update on 15 Apr 2014: The new members of the Bundessicherheitsrat are the chancellor, vice-chancellor, foreign minister, defense minister, interior minister, finance minister, justice minister, development minister and the chief of the chancellory (the chancellor’s chief of staff).

Update on 01 Jul 2014: A former federal development minister, Dirk Niebel (F.D.P.), is going to become the top lobbyist for weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall. As development minister, he was on the Bundessicherheitsrat when it approved weapons exports by his future employer, including the export not just of tanks but of a tank factory to Algeria. An op-ed in called for an investigation of what approvals and favors the F.D.P. minister provided for Rheinmetall while in office.

Update on 02 Jul 2014: Prosecutors are investigating Germany’s biggest small arms manufacturers, SIG Sauer, Heckler & Koch and Carl Walther, for exporting guns to e.g. Colombia and Mexico without saying so on the guns’ export permits. The economy ministry, part of the remit of superminister Sigmar Gabriel (S.P.D.), is investigating reforms to Germany’s weapons export permit procedures that would include e.g. the introduction of random checks to ensure weapons remained where their exporters said they were going.

(BOON dess ZICHH ah heights RAH t.)

Fluorwasserstoff, Ammoniumhydrogendifluorid, Natriumfluorid

Hydrogen fluoride, ammonium hydrogen difluoride, sodium fluoride.

What did your country’s companies export to the Assads’ Syria that could have been used to hurt civilians?

These are three of the chemicals German companies exported tons of to Syria between 2002 and 2006 that could have been used to make chemical weapons, at a time when the Assad regime was known to have a chemical weapons program.

The German government’s Ministry for the Economy [Bundeswirtschaftsministerium] drew up and published a list of such chemicals, including quantities, dates and prices, that could have been used to manufacture chemical weapons and for which the government issued export permits, in response to a question submitted by the Leftists party (Die Linken) and by Bundestag member and former U.N. weapons inspector Jan van Aken (Leftists) in particular. The government supplied this information one week before a national election.

Update on 30 Sep 2013: After the national election the government supplied more information. German companies were issued export permits for “dual-use” chemicals even until 2011, after the Assads were killing peaceful Syrian protestors. From 1998 to 2011, ~300 tons of such chemicals, which could be used for civilian or military purposes, were delivered from Germany to Syria. Klaus Barthel (S.P.D.) criticized the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium for, among other things, phased provision of the truth. The Bundeswirtschaftsministerium said they reviewed the investigation and remain convinced of the plausibility of the civilian uses cited, but the C.D.U. said plausibility is not enough when dealing with regimes like the Assads’. Reporter Arnd Henze said Germany has to be especially careful in these matters because the world knows that chemical weapons were produced in Libya and Iraq “with German support.”

On 01 Sep 2013 it was announced that Britain had issued licenses to export sarin gas precursors potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to Syria in January 2012, ten months into the uprising against the Assad family. The export licenses were revoked in July 2012 after the European Union agreed to sanctions against the Assad regime. Prime Minister David Cameron (Tory)’s office initially responded by saying the U.K. has the the most rigorous export control regime, with a computer system called C.H.I.E.F., which is how they know that though the export permits were issued at that unfortunate time no chemicals were exported under the permits. Later it was indicated this was not so. Following up, Business Secretary Vince Cable (LibDem) subsequently reported that other licenses to export sarin precursor chemicals to Syria were issued by previous U.K. governments between 2004 and 2010 (the year Mr. Cameron’s Conservative-LibDem government came to power).

Update on 09 Jul 2014: U.K. foreign minister William Hague sent a written statement to the British parliament announcing that British companies had probably exported hundreds of tons of chemicals to Syria in the 1980’s that could have been used to make chemical weapons such as sarin and VX.

(FLEW or voss ah SHTOFF,   a MOAN ee oom hee dro GAIN dee FLEW oar EAT,   NOT ree oom FLEW oar EAT.)

Rüstungsfirmen wegen mutmasslichen Schmiergelder untersucht

“Razzias Searched Weapons Manufacturers for Evidence in Bribe Accusations.” Bremen prosecutors confirmed police had searched the offices of two German arms manufacturers on 23 Aug 2013 for evidence in corruption charges brought against the firms. Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and Atlas Elektronik are being investigated for paying bribes to Greek politicians and bureaucrats and for not paying taxes in sales of German submarine equipment to Greece.

Sü said it’s thought each firm paid Greek officials about 9 million euros in bribes or “Schmiergeld,” shmear money, lubrication funding.  The bribery charges go back a long way in time, in Atlas Elektronik’s case to before the current owners’ purchase of the firm. Payments were made to a British “letterbox” company that belonged to a Greek company.

Despite the British background in this investigation, there’s a long history of corruption in German submarine sales to Greece according to Sü Munich prosecutors have been investigating it for years because an Essen company Ferrostaal caught paying bribes to Athens used to be owned by MAN SE, a transport vehicles manufacturing company based in Munich. Most of the extra Ferrostaal submarines sold to Greece via the shmear were built at ThyssenKrupp shipyards, and Bremen prosecutors say Ferrostaal involvement hasn’t been ruled out yet in the current investigation of Rheinmetall and Atlas.

Prosecutors of multiple German districts have known about these problems for years but reportedly only found enough evidence to take action in 2012. For example, the Süddeutsche wrote that EADS (now Airbus) and ThyssenKrupp are joint owners of naval electronics specialist Atlas Elektronik. After buying the company in 2006 from the British firm BAE, they stopped payment of the bribes in 2007, bribes that had apparently started with a consultant contract in 2002. Atlas informed prosecutors about it in 2010 but nothing happened until further info was received from a 2012 tax audit at Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, they said. Rheinmetall denies all bribery charges.

(RISS toongs firm men   vay gen   moot MOSS lichh en   SHMEAR geld ah   oont ah ZOOCHHT.)

Autonome Tötungsroboter

Autonomous killer robots.

A Sü article said for years now billions have invested annually in research and development of these types of weapons by the U.S.A., United Kingdom, Israel and soon China as well. The U.S. Navy for example is working on unmanned killer submarines. The U.S. Air Force notoriously has its drones. Companies like iRobot Corp. have been delivering land-based battle robots for years, on wheels, caterpillar treads, four legs and they’re working on bipedal. Post-mounted or mobile Samsung sentries (“SGR-1”) have been erected along the North Korean border that can now be set to automatically shoot anything detectable by motion, heat or, presumably, video-analyzing software.

Opponents of the technology say it’s only a question of time until remotely operated killing machines become autonomous decision-makers. The time for people to decide on an international framework for these types of weapons is now, said a United Nations expert on extralegal killing.

Sweden, wrote Sü, has called for an international test ban [Testverbot] on L.A.R.’s, lethal autonomous robots, asking each country’s government to announce a national moratorium on them and to unilaterally decline to manufacture and test autonomous killer robots.

(Ow! toe NOME ah   TƏ TOONGS roe BOT ah.)

Vertrag zur Kontrolle des Waffenhandels

Arms control treaty passed on 02 Apr 2013 by the United Nations’ General Assembly after seven years of negotiations. The world’s first international agreement for controlling conventional weapons, “from pistols to panzer tanks,” it must still be ratified by fifty countries. States that sign the treaty agree not to export arms to countries where it appears that they might be used in crimes against humanity; one controversial point in the agreement is that it allows distribution of weapons to rebel groups if the shipments “serve to aid freedom and stability in the world.” The USA insisted on leaving that one in.

Update on 25 Sep 2013: The U.S. secretary of state signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. Amnesty International praised this, noting that the U.S.A. is the world’s biggest weapons exporter, selling ca. 1/3 of the world’s arms trade to ~170 countries. 86 countries have signed the A.T.T.

(Fer TROG   tsoor   con TROLL eh   dess   VOFF en hon dellz.)


“Watering can principle,” in which subventions are distributed evenly throughout a group without regard to individual needs or priorities, a principle some European arms exporters say they won’t follow if allowed to resume exporting weapons to Syrian rebels. They say they will only give guns to good guys. The UK and France don’t want to renew the EU’s embargo on Syrian arms shipments, which is about to expire.

Update on 27 May 2013: Because the member states could not reach a unanimous decision, the EU embargo on sending more weapons to Syrian rebels will expire. The UK indicated they were only proposing voting against renewal of the embargo because they want to increase pressure on the Assad family (which is currently fighting to the death, of all its members, unless they agree to a better solution at the upcoming peace talks in Switzerland). We shall see whether France and the UK now indeed export more weapons to that corner of the world.

(GEESE Cannes en prints EEP.)

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