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Guttenberg denies cover-up allegations

The Local · 21 Jan 2011, 11:43

Published: 21 Jan 2011 11:43 GMT+01:00

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“I have nothing to apologise for,” Guttenberg told broadcaster ARD’s Morgenmagazin show on Friday.

The Defence Minister has been under fire from members of the armed services committee, who claim they were misinformed and first heard about the incidents through the parliamentary liaison to the Bundeswehr, Hellmut Königshaus.

A report presented to the committee indicated a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan, who died of a bullet to the head in December, may have been accidentally shot by a comrade messing around with a gun. Königshaus said up to 10 soldiers were involved in an apparent game at an outpost near the German base of Kunduz late last year, news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday.

Guttenberg told ARD that the public had been properly informed of the circumstances of the soldiers’ death the day after the incident, which occurred shortly before Chancellor Angela Merkel visited armed forces stationed in the country. “We indicated during the chancellor’s trip in Afghanistan that the shot came from the weapon of a comrade,” the Defence Minister said.

In an interview with news agency DPA shortly thereafter, Guttenberg also addressed the circumstances of the soldier’s death – albeit indirectly.

But in its announcement of the incident, the Bundeswehr said the young soldier was discovered with the gunshot wound and subsequently died during an emergency operation – the implication being that he had committed suicide or accidentally shot himself while cleaning his weapon.

Meanwhile, the Greens’ parliamentary group leader Jürgen Trittin accused Guttenberg of trying to conceal the exact circumstances of the soldier’s death in Afghanistan.

Königshaus also commented on the alleged “mutiny” on board the navy training ship “Gorch Fock” last November. An investigation found that the crew rebelled and refused to climb the rigging of the historic navy ship after one of their comrades, 25-year-old Sarah S., fell 27 metres to her death.

On Friday, Königshaus told the paper Passauer Neue Presse that it’s necessary to examine which information was available to the Defence Ministry and military leaders and when.

Guttenberg told Süddeutsche Zeitung he had only learned of the alleged “mutiny” on Monday and had informed the navy’s inspector and the ministry’s legal department to investigate the incident.

Story continues below…

The head of the armed services committee, Susanne Kastner of the centre-left opposition Social Democrats, criticised the defence ministry’s approach to keeping the committee abreast of such issues: “The ministry not only misinformed the armed services committee, but also continues to delay and suppress information,” she told the Hamburger Abendblatt on Friday.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:50 January 21, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
Good to see that Guttenberg probably won't be able to keep up his teflon-coated Prince Charming/media darling facade much longer.

He has disgusted me from day one, and I have never understood how Germans could fall for a sleazebag like him.

As they say in Germany, he will eventually slip on his own slime trail.
18:44 January 21, 2011 by JohnnesKönig
I hope so... "er ist auf einer eigenen Schleim Spur ausgerutscht"
00:28 January 22, 2011 by Frenemy
Well, that only happens when you backtrack or walk/talk in circles ;-)

(which, to the man's credit, he has not done...yet)
05:14 January 22, 2011 by proclusian
Yes, but this is just the problem in general with the aristocracy, the "von und zu" crowd: they don't know how to function within the Bundesrepublik, because they don't fundamentally believe in democracy, or that they should have to answer for anything that they do to "the common man," or anyone in the Bundestag for that matter.

That having been said, I'm sure Angie will have something to do with his downfall, if in fact it is his downfall. The dragon lady isn't dead yet.
08:16 January 22, 2011 by tallady
proclusian, very interesting point and good point, concerning the von and zu crowd.

Politics as usual ...next batter please.
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