"My case was dismissed. It was not even considered. I was simply denied the right to bring my suit," Jung noted, explaining that he was told that he "personally was not affected by the military drones," and therefore "cannot sue."
Frustrated by the result, the retiree-turned-activist suggested that "according to the logic of the court, German citizens do not have the right to file a lawsuit against actions that are illegal under international law originating from US military bases on German territory."
Asked what compelled him to file his suit, Jung explained that his motivation was deeply personal. "I was born and raised in this region. The air base is located two kilometers from my home. I worked here as a schoolboy and a student, and since the time of the Vietnam War, have felt that a great deal of harm has come from this base. I was born in 1928, and came to know the experience of war, as a child, for myself. For this reason I have always been against war and for peace."
Ramstein, the activist recalled, plays a crucial role in US operations in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Afghanistan. The base features a satellite relay station (SATCOM), through which all communications between pilots and drone operators in the US and the drones themselves takes place.
"All the data, including video, is transmitted to the US through Ramstein. Without this station, the US drone war would not be possible in its present form," he noted.
Meanwhile, Jung said, "the federal government pretends not to know anything. It points to President Obama's statement that drones do not fly out of German territory – that they are not operated from here. And this is true, but that's not the point. The issue lies in the base's indirect use via the satellite communication station, located on German territory, and without which the drone war would be impossible. But our government shrugs this off, saying that 'we know nothing about this', and 'we trust the words of the US president'."
"Ramstein is not just about drones," Jung emphasized. It is a also key point for US and NATO airstrikes…[The base holds] the General Staff of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa, and the General Staff of NATO air forces (Aircom). Without these commands there would not be a unified movement of NATO air power – either in Europe, in Africa, or anywhere else. Ramstein is also the headquarters for the US missile shield; yes, it's sold to the public as a NATO institution, but really consists exclusively of US missile systems and radar."
What's even more concerning, Jung suggested, is that NATO is now in the process of making preparations for a possible war against Russia. "In such a war, we would be the first to die, because the important high-value assets located here would be a priority target for Russian missiles."
In addition to Ramstein, the region of Rhineland-Palatinate also has a significant US Army contingent, including the largest US ammunition depot in the world outside the US – Ammunition Center Europe, where 25,000 tons of ammunition is stored, and transferred to the battlefields in Iraq and Syria.
Despite having his case rejected in federal court, the retiree hasn't lost hope. "Of course I will not give up! I am taking not only legal steps, but also publish an online newspaper called Luftpost. Since the legal path has been exhausted, I will be more actively engaged with the newspaper."
Jung emphasized that several positive trends in locals' attitudes toward the base have already appeared. For one thing, public concern over the airbase has been on the rise. "You have probably noticed that lately two large demonstrations have been held. Last year a demonstration was attended by 1,500 people, and this year by 5,000. We hope that there will be even more people next year."
"If the local population no longer sees any benefit from the American presence, people will start to think about the dangers which come from this airbase," Jung stressed.
Ultimately, Jung emphasized that the German government has a legal and moral obligation to do something about the US base, "because our constitution says that preparations for wars of aggression cannot be conducted on German soil – and such preparations are being made constantly."
Ramstein is located on German soil, and accordingly, is subject to German law. "This means that if the federal government is to adhere to our constitution and to international law, it should be required by law, and above all, for moral reasons, to stop these actions," the activist concluded.