The first action conference against the planned NATO war-manoeuvre Defender 2020 took place in Leipzig (Germany) on November 24th.
With 100 participants, mostly from the East Germany, the hall in the St. Trinitatis church was overcrowded, participants had to sit in the hallway and on the floor.
Invited were people from the DFG-VK Ost, attac Leipzig and Halle, Aufstehen Leipzig, der Naturwissenschaftler Friedensinitiative and the BI Offene Heide. Present were peace activists from almost all regions, towns and villages of Eastern Germany.
In an optimistic atmosphere, reminiscent of forward-looking times, the significance of NATO’s biggest war manoeuvre in 25 years has been judged and condemned as, essentially an aggression against Russia. Even, the period of the manoeuvre April / May 2020 is a provocation. On the 8th of May 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Germany and Europe from fascism, which was decisively achieved by the Soviet Union.
37,000 soldiers and officers plan to take part in the manoeuvre with NATO troops from 17 countries, including 20,000 US soldiers who will be transferred to Europe by ship and plane and possibly arrive in Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rostock and Antwerp. They by transported by roads and rail (with an agreed priority rule) to the east towards the Polish border and then to the Russian western border.
Germany will be the political and logistics hub, according to the Bundeswehr concept of July 2018. Germany will be the logistics “turntable” and “potential backseat area” for what? For a war against Russia.
In the manoeuvre actively involved in Germany (after the previously known to us largely secret plans of NATO and the Bundeswehr) are:
- The ports of Hamburg and Bremen / Bremerhaven possibly also Rostock as a logistic centre of the Baltic Sea
- the so-called “Convey Support Centre”:
- Garlstedt in the district Oberholz Lower Saxony
- Castle near Magdeburg
- Military training area Oberlausitz
- Train training area Bergen. This will receive, in preparation for the manoeuvre, a new large fuelling system for tanks and military vehicles
- the base in Grafenwoehr, on which command post exercises are to take place
- the border crossings in Forst and / or Görlitz
The plan seems to be, a “fight, combat support and leadership manoeuvre”, which will takes place simultaneously in Germany, Poland and Lithuania and in which the rapid response troops of NATO will participate (from information from the Ministry of Defense and the Obleute of the German Bundestag,
The coordination centres for this mobilization against Russia are in Ulm (Joint support and enable command), in Stuttgart (EUCO) and on the US Air Base Ramstein.
The dimension of the manoeuvre requires comprehensive logistics and planning, the involvement of local and regional authorities and state governments as well as the German railways, it has a dramatic impact on the entire civil infrastructure and transport.
The manoeuvre is an environmental disaster, a mad waste of resources and a destruction of diverse nature. It is an active contribution of the military to the impending climate catastrophe.
The reasons for its rejection are manifold: politically, militarily, geostrategic, ethically, morally, historically, the climate and environment, traffic and infrastructure. This comprehensive rejection should lead into a coalition of diversity, diverse actors and diverse actions, as well as international cooperation.
The kick-off was the action conference in Leipzig.
After an intensive discussion it was agreed together:
- To create the conditions for a broad alliance. A first coordination group of 16 persons was set up, as well as a contact address (DFG-VK Ost). They should develop a call, a logo, etc. and put it up for discussion. The logistics of preparing a variety of actions must be developed
- the preparation now begins with the education of the population, a variety of actions on the ground and in the regions, further intensive networking and the use of all upcoming action data to promote the actions. The Easter marches certainly play an important role here
- A variety of actions were considered and should be included in the further planning. These range from banners on the bridges, to vigils, commuters along the entire route and at stations, to actions of civil disobedience. Diversity and creativity should shape this
- A highlight should be a joint rally and demonstration at a central location of the manoeuvre. The plans were for Magdeburg or Cottbus.
Much is still in the planning and the creativity and commitment are virtually unlimited. It is already clear that manoeuvre is encountering broad and varied active resistance, mobilizing and bringing together the peace movement (and hopefully many other forces). The planning has begun: An Action Conference North will be on 18.01.2020, another 2nd Action Conference hopefully all will take place on 25.01.2020 in Leipzig.
Reiner Braun (member of the coordinating group of actions against Defender 2020)