A member of Germany's elite KSK force is due to be suspended next week by the army on suspicion of far-right extremism, local media reported on December 1. As per the report, the army has been covertly investigating him and two other soldiers and was prompted to take action against the man after its probe leaked. One of the two other suspects has been stripped of the right to wear a German army uniform while the other has been classed as a suspicious case. They allegedly made the banned Hitler salute during a private party hosted by the suspect. With these cases, the KSK is now charged with the sensitive and risky missions including hostage rescue operations or anti-terror action abroad. The far-right-leaning of some members had always plagued the force.
There have been around 20 suspicious cases at the KSK, said the head of the military’s counter-intelligence service, Christof Gramm. Besides the recent cases, German federal police uncovered an alleged plot by far-right extremists, some of who were in the KSK, to assassinate left-wing politicians and asylum seekers in 2017. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Green Party leader Claudia Roth, and the former president Joachim Gauck were amongst their targets. The forces links with Nazi ideals have repeatedly come under fire by the Government.
The current President-elect of European Commission and the previous defense minister Ursula von der Leyen in 2028 ordered the military to cleanse itself of all links to the Wehrmacht, after learning that steel helmets and memorabilia of the Nazi-era army were openly displayed at one of its barracks. The minister also ordered barracks still named after World War II figures, like field marshal Erwin Rommel, to be stripped of their names. After posting a photo on Instagram of a military uniform complete with two Iron Crosses bearing the Nazi swastika as "retro", the German Army had to apologize last week. They also had to pull down the image. The army personnel who uploaded the picture said that he was seeking to do a photo-essay on the influence of military uniforms on fashion through the ages but failed to provide the correct historical context in its captions.
(With inputs from agencies)