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Soldiers' Afghanistan letters allegedly opened

The Local · 19 Jan 2011, 09:05

Published: 19 Jan 2011 09:05 GMT+01:00

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Hellmut Königshaus, parliament’s liaison to the military, has pressed Guttenberg to explain suspicions that letters from the front line in northern Afghanistan had been opened, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Königshaus was alerted to the situation when soldiers complained during a trip he made to Afghanistan last week. In a message to Guttenberg he wrote that “their letters to Germany were apparently systematically opened in large quantities.”

Letters arrived home to their loved ones over the last three months, “some with their contents, but opened, others without their contents.”

Most of the complaints came from paratroopers stationed out of Seedorf in Lower Saxony who are fighting alongside Afghan and American troops in some of the toughest areas near Kunduz, according to Königshaus.

The advocate for Bundeswehr soldiers alleges that letter tampering has revealed “sufficient evidence of a crime,” Der Spiegel reported.

One rumour circulating among the soldiers is that the letters could be opened to prevent sensitive operational details from being intercepted, but such measures would violate Germany’s privacy of correspondence laws, the magazine said.

Story continues below…

The Defence Ministry said it is investigating the allegations.

The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:15 January 19, 2011 by Landmine
Who writes letters nowadays? Our email was censored in Iraq. Why would anyone expect it not to be, historically, all mail leaving combat zones is censored.
13:30 January 19, 2011 by Frenemy
I too am more than a little surprised that people still correspond with letters and a stamped envelope! (pretty retro)
13:37 January 19, 2011 by Johnne
C´mon what´s the big deal!? everyone is opened and censored in this country.
14:35 January 19, 2011 by storymann
That is like being in prison,, unconscionable
14:56 January 19, 2011 by Frenemy
From an InfoSec point of view, it makes more sense for the military to insist on electronic correspondence only. Even in this day and age of hacking and wikileaks, etc. it is far easier to control technology than all the human elements involved in snail-mail/hard-copy correspondence (especially from the third world).

For more than 98% of people in this world, it is far easier to steam/open an envelope, read/photocopy the letter and then re-seal the envelope than it is to hack an email account or penetrate a network.
20:31 January 21, 2011 by fair1day
Poor little German soldiers.
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