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Germans disgusted with photos of soldiers posing with skull
Cat : Peace And Security
Date : 2006-10-26 19:06:31                      Reader : 304

humiliated, abused, and tortured detainees, to the point of undressing and sexual abuse as in Abu Ghraib. Israelis force suspects to drink their Urine!!

WNN 26-10-2006

Germans disgusted with photos of soldiers posing with skull
By Jeffrey Fleishman

Los Angeles Times


Five pictures of German troops posing with a skull in Afghanistan appeared in the nation's largest newspaper, Bild, showing the skull in various positions, including mounted on a jeep.

BERLIN — It wasn't the best day for the picture of a German soldier simulating oral sex with a skull to have appeared in the nation's biggest newspaper.

The outrage Wednesday about photographs of German troops posing with a skull in Afghanistan swept through parliament just as Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration announced a major restructuring of the military to handle increased international missions.

The five pictures appeared in Bild under the headline: "German Soldiers Desecrate a Dead Person." They show the skull in various positions, including mounted on a jeep and held near the waist of a soldier with his fatigues unzipped. The newspaper, which would not identify the source of the photos, blocked out the troops' faces. Editors said the skull might be the remains of a villager pulled from a mass grave or a Soviet soldier killed during Afghanistan's occupation in the 1980s.

Bild is known for titillating scoops. However, the photographs, believed to have been taken about two years ago, disturbed a nation whose Nazi past has made many Germans wary of deploying the military to foreign lands.

The government was concerned that the pictures could be used by Taliban and other Islamic militants to instigate a backlash against the 2,800 German troops serving in Afghanistan.

"It is clear and unambiguous that such behavior on the part of German soldiers absolutely cannot be tolerated," Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said. "These pictures arouse repugnance and horror."

Jung said an investigation could end in "disciplinary and even criminal measures" for members of the unit stationed near Kabul.

German troops

Germany has about 250,000 military personnel, including about 55,000 conscripts. More than 9,000 soldiers and sailors are stationed in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Kosovo province and other regions. Germany plans to reduce its troop contingent in Afghanistan, currently about 2,800, to 1,800.

Los Angeles Times

Military officials said the matter had been referred to prosecutors. Two soldiers in the pictures, including one who earlier had left the army, are being questioned. Desecrating the dead can carry a three-year prison sentence in Germany.

The publicity is an embarrassment for the army.

Bernhard Gertz, head of an organization representing German soldiers, called the photos "absolutely disgusting ... We can't use such people in our army."

He added that the "terrorist enemy will, of course, exploit such things and say, 'Look, that's how the nonbelievers are dealing with us.' "

In New York, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, Said Tayeb Jawad, said the photos were seen only as an act of "misguided individuals," but that the German government should investigate.

He noted that insurgents are "conducting a very effective public relations against us, against humanity, against freedom, and you should not give them any opportunity to undermine the good cause that these soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan or in other countries."

The military restructuring announced Wednesday by Merkel's government is a response to increasing danger from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

The aim is to prepare the armed forces to react to terrorism threats at home and to expand international missions, including peacekeeping and patrolling the seas. The plan is expected to complicate the debate over whether Germany — like some of its European neighbors — should break the tradition of mandatory military service.

It is the first such overhaul since 1994 and, according to the newspaper, preserves Germany's cooperation with NATO and the European Union. The study states that Germany's population, economy and position in the center of continent "give it a central role for the future" of Europe and beyond.

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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