In Bochum, the NATO Agency for Information and Communication (NCIA) may move into the former Opel factory. Information and communication technology is conquering the concepts of warfare – a development that can dangerously lower the barrier to war. Nevertheless, with the exception of the LEFT, all NATO-supporting parties are in favor of this new NATO facility in the Ruhr area.
There is an incendiary mismatch between the danger of war and its public perception – this is contributed by those responsible in the mainstream media and in the leading parties: they ignore the issue. And when NATO or the Bundeswehr is brought into the discourse, it is the opposite of what it is: it is sold as a guarantor of peace. Meanwhile, the military and their lobby are creating ever more explosive facts - now also in the Ruhr area, where the withdrawal of large corporations arouses the desires of the military to occupy vacant areas.
Is NATO's cyber agency moving to Opelwerk Bochum?
For example, there are plans in Bochum that the NATO Agency for Information and Communication (NCIA), which is central for NATO warfare in the 21st century and which hardly anyone knows, may move into the huge site of the former Opel plant. Alternatively, a location for the expansion of NATO's cyber agency near the Hardthöhe in Bonn is also under discussion. The specialty of the NCIA stands for another mismatch between its existential importance for the people and their future, on the one hand, and their public perception: information and communication technology conquers the concepts of warfare, but the public still connects with military above all the Air Force, the Army and the Navy. This is intentional, so the army can find its way into the IT age of cyber warfare and the artificial ‘intelligence’ of lethal (=deadly) digital programs and systems, largely without counter-protest. The NCIA introduces itself as follows:
"The NCIA operates across the full spectrum of military IT (C4ISR – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). With an annual budget of about one billion euros, the NCIA serves the entire life cycle of NATO's IT.”
NATO's central IT service provider
The NCIA states that it provides "as a hub for the exchange of real-time cyber information, (...) for allies and partner nations, (...) training Cyber Warriors, securing NATO actions and sighting the impact of Allied actions, training cyber warriors for the Internet, enabling mission security of NATO actions, securing Allied operations". According to the website, the NCIA is "NATO's central IT service provider", i.e. a centrepiece for the strategy of high-tech war in the digital age and this with ever increasing importance in the digital age. This is not only about simple communication, not only about (artificial) intelligence and reconnaissance of militarily relevant information, not only about surveillance and command-leadership of so–called 'operations' - it is about war.
Cold, automated and ultimately autonomous killing systems
Through the introduction of program-based electronic data processing and transmission to accelerate the response and action capability of the military in all domains of warfare, digitization is blurring the boundaries between peace and war. The poet Ingeborg Bachmann had foreseen this development almost sixty years ago:
"War is no longer declared ... The outrageous has become commonplace. The hero stays away from the fights. The weak has moved into the fire zones.”
With the digital war, the military is developing methods and doctrines that push back the influence of people on life and death decisions. Cold, automated and ultimately autonomous war systems know no moral sense, no inhibition of killing, no common sense in the course of war. This eliminates human hurdles in a possible spiral of escalation. This increases the risk of a catastrophe for humanity in the end, even on a planet whose biosphere is dependent on peaceful development because of the many nuclear and chemical plants and the highly sensitive network-controlled supply and disposal in many metropolises and regions.
War: The threshold is falling
Among other things, the NCIA has the function of developing new strategies and competencies with its high-tech structure, which result in an accepted further reduction of the threshold for war in the 21st century. The Brussels NATO Summit in June 2021 declared:
"The states united in the alliance note that the impact of significant malicious and cumulative cyber activity can, under certain circumstances, amount to an armed attack.”
This means that if the NATO military perceive an event on the net as an attack, then they see themselves legitimized to enter a war on the net, on land, in the water and in the air. This is what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in 2016:
"Most crises today also have a cyber dimension."
Then the Zeit continues:
"It's about defense," Stoltenberg said. However, some Member States, such as the US, also have the ability to conduct cyberattacks themselves.”
The full extent of the danger will only become clear if the possibility can indeed be deduced that the leading NATO state is launching an attack on its own initiative in order to forestall a cyber attack suspected by some military personnel – and this is exactly what strategists have already taken precautions: for example, the United States decreed a dangerous expansion of "self-defense" in 2002, when it stated in the Defense Department's annual strategy paper that self-defense was possible not only in response to an armed attack, but also in response to an expected attack.
Here, the strategists open NATO to attacks against a state in violation of international law, without having been attacked by it with force.
This is also the framework for the work of the NCIA, which has been professionalizing NATO's electronic warfare systems since its creation in July 2012. At the NCIA, the interconnectedness of the military-industrial complex can be clearly traced. Even the war trade is subject to the capitalist principle of the return orientation pursued by corporations in competition. The job search of the NCIA is supported by a so-called User Forum for Electronics (AFCEA), which is an umbrella organization founded in 1983 with representatives of the Bundeswehr, the civil service, research and industry. On 26.10.2021 AFCEA will hold a "Convention on Digital Convergence in the Security and Defence Industry" in Berlin; included is a large part of the creme de la creme of the NATO defense and communications groups: from France, the Thales group involved in nuclear armament, from Italy, the space defense group Leonardo, SAAB from Sweden, Airbus Defense, Microsoft and IBM ...
NATO-"alliance case" in network attack?
The NCIA has a "NATO-wide Integrated Command and Control Software for Air Operations (ICC) ... an integrated command, control, communication and reconnaissance/information environment ... that provides information management and decision support for NATO air operations in peacetime, exercises and war".
In the event of an attack on the network reported by the warning systems, the Allies can ... declare the alliance case:
"The orientation of the alliance must change, because the reality is changing, as Secretary General Stoltenberg sees it. The security situation has become more challenging, the world more unpredictable, and the power struggles are increasing. Also on the web and in space.”
The physicist Wolfgang Stieler makes it clear how the danger of a (nuclear) war accidentally ignites becomes tangible here:
"When such viruses or Trojans appear, it is difficult to determine who actually sent them on whose behalf. Compared to the chaos then imaginable, the Cold War might seem like a properly regulated affair. One can imagine a scenario according to which any Trojans or viruses appear on computers in the Pentagon. The US, for example, says: "The Chinese attacked us”. NATO could then provide Germany with a defence case. In the US, there are already voices in the ranks of computer security companies who say that we have long been in a ‘cyberwar’. Even if this is not true, it is nevertheless plausible to say that relatively many states are actively preparing for such a dispute at the moment. On a time scale of five to ten years, I think it is very likely that there will be major clashes.”
Only the LEFT criticizes the new NATO establishment
The peace movement of the Ruhr area is organizing the protest against the expansion and settlement of the NCIA – and its allies (especially from the ecological spectrum) are called upon to commit themselves to the future by their side.
This is not an easy undertaking, as the NATO and thus the war-favoring course of the top of the Greens becomes concrete here: The group chairman of the Greens in the Bochum Council, Sebastian Pewny, for example, supports the NCIA settlement in the Bochum Opel plant:
"As you know, ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS are fully committed to the international security Alliance NATO. In line with this green commitment, we generally support the establishment of NATO facilities in Bochum.
In particular, however, against the background of the research focus of our city and its university landscape in the field of cyber security and the associated opportunities for the university location in international competition, the establishment of the NCIA in Bochum would be a gain for the entire city.”
All other NATO-supporting parties support the NCIA plans. Only the positioning of the LEFT stands out, as its disarmament policy spokeswoman in the Bundestag, the Bochumer Sevim Dagdelen, writes:
"THE LEFT rejects the settlement of new military facilities such as the NATO cyber war agency NCIA in Bochum or Bonn. Instead of continuing the militarization of the Rhine-Ruhr region, the metropolitan area with millions of people needs investments in social security, education, health and climate protection".
The regional press of the Ruhr area reports:
"Ministries in Düsseldorf and Berlin involved - Greens support bid for NATO facility - LEFTISTS criticize 'serving' the military"
While all this is happening, the public is distracted by the fact that the ‘relevant topics of government work besides the climate and Europe are the modern state of digitization’, as the ZDF news spread during the preliminary explorations for coalition work.
In connection with the increasing dangers posed by wars, it is about the safety of life in general – and about redirecting the billions for war preparation and implementation in education, health, social affairs and ecology in such a way that the focus is on the social future and not its destruction. The peace movement of the Ruhr area is currently building up and expanding the protest against further militarization.