Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

German Defense Minister 'On the Ropes' and Taking Punches

German soldiers sue over dismissal for
'sadistic sexual' practices and hazing

Four soldiers are challenging their dismissal for alleged sexual abuse and hazing in the Bundeswehr. The outcome of the case may put further pressure on Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Germany's Pfullendorf barracks

Six months after a sexual and hazing scandal rocked the Bundeswehr four dismissed soldiers are challenging the case in court.

Allegations that soldiers at the Pfullendorf military base in the southern state of Baden W├╝rttemberg engaged in "sadistic sexual" practices and bizarre hazing rituals sent shockwaves through the defense establishment in January. 

Among other allegations, trainers were said to have forced female soldiers to pole dance.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the time called the behavior "repulsive and disgusting," and cracked down by transferring the base commander and dismissing five soldiers.

Unanswered questions

But in the intervening months, much remains unclear about what was happening at the base.

Von der Leyen has been criticized amid reports of declining morale in the German military

Prosecutors have already invalidated some of the accusations, while there remains a lack of evidence for others.

Now four of the dismissed soldiers are suing to get their jobs back.

Test for von der Leyen

Germany's DPA news agency reported that the case may put pressure on von der Leyen, who has been accused of by some in the military of mismanagement and politicization. The criticism has extended beyond the case of Pfullendorf to her handling of right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr and dipping morale in the force.

Christian Trull, a former major general, for example, accused the defense minister in the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" newspaper on Wednesday of "exaggeration and alarmism."

If the court rules to reinstate the four soldiers it will validate criticism of the defense minister.

A verdict is expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile, von der Leyen is facing a host of other problems:

Von der Leyen under fire
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wanted to show she's not blind to problems among her own troops. In light of the most recent scandal, she openly criticized army leadership, saying the Bundeswehr had an "attitude problem." But Bundeswehr officials found her comments to be outrageous. Their response to the defense minister's criticism: "Leadership goes from the top down."

A fake Syrian refugee
The story causing the uproar: Bundeswehr lieutenant Franco A. was allegedly planning a terrorist attack and led a double life, pretending to be a Syrian refugee. He was granted partial asylum status as a war refugee in December 2016. His alleged goal: another attack blamed on a refugee. Bundeswehr officials are said to have known about Franco A.'s right-wing tendencies since 2014, but did nothing.

Abuse in Bad Reichenhall mountain rangers unit
The Bundeswehr is currently investigating 275 cases of suspected right-wing extremism. But they're also dealing with other types of scandals. In March 2017, the public learned about the case of a lance corporal who had suffered months of abuse in a Bavarian mountain rangers unit. The victim reported being threatened and sexually harassed in 2015 and 2016. Prosecutors investigated 14 people.

Female recruits forced to pole-dance
The biggest scandal of von der Leyen's term so far: the horror stories coming out of the Staufer army base in Pfullendorf. In January, it was revealed that superior officers there forced recruits to undress and perform sexually-motivated acts and filmed them. Female recruits were forced to pole dance as part of an "entrance exam." The top Bundeswehr training commander was fired as a result.

Many cases of right-wing extremism investigated
According to a report from Germany's federal parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Hans-Peter Bartels, 2016 wasn't a great year for the Bundeswehr, either. There were around 60 incidents related to alleged right-wing extremism or "violations against the bases of Germany's free democratic constitutional structure." Troops shared anti-Semitic images and music or did the Nazi salute.

Death on board the Gorch Fock
The Bundeswehr wasn't immune to scandals before von der Leyen became defense minister in December 2013. One that garnered significant public attention was the death of a 25-year-old recruit on the Navy training vessel Gorch Fock in 2010. The woman fell from the rigging during an exercise. As a consequence, other cadets refused to climb the rigging. Officer training on the ship was suspended.

The birth of the Bundeswehr
Directly after World War II, Germany was not allowed to have an army. The Bundeswehr had its start in West Germany in 1955. After reunification, the Bundeswehr took in 20,000 soldiers from East Germany's armed forces. A big change came in 1999, when the Bundeswehr first participated in an international conflict: the Kosovo War. Before that, they had only gone abroad for peacekeeping missions.

No more mandatory service
Today the Bundeswehr has roughly 178,200 active soldiers. As of March 2017, 11.4 percent of them are women. Until 2011, men were required to do mandatory military service, the length of which varied between nine and 18 months. Today, the Bundeswehr has to appeal to young people to recruit soldiers. The most recent scandals are making that that more and more difficult.
Author: Carla Bleiker

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