ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - The Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras has announced a new initiative to force Germany to pay reparations and compensations to Greece. During a memorial service for the victims of a massacre committed by the German Wehrmacht in the western Greek village of Kommeno, on Tuesday, Tsipras declared that, should the Germany government persist in refusing to pay reparations, Athens will seek "through diplomatic channels - and if necessary at the judicial level - " to take action against Berlin. In early September, the Greek parliament is scheduled to discuss a recently completed report quantifying the German reparations debt at 269 billion Euros. German government assertions that the reparations issue has been "closed" are unfounded. In fact, payment of the binding 1946 reparations sum, recognized by the London Debt Agreement of February 1953, had been deferred, but not annulled. Only a fraction of it has been paid. As confirmed by Horst Teltschik, former advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Bonn had sought to evade its reparations obligations by explicitly not qualifying the 2 + 4 Treaty a "Peace Treaty." It had been feared that, with a peace treaty, suddenly "reparations demands from over 50 countries would land on the table," Teltschik explained. more…

BERLIN/ATHENS/ANKARA | | griechenland

BERLIN/ATHENS/ANKARA (Own report) - Massive international protests are accompanying the start of EU mass deportations of refugees to Turkey. The first 750 refugees are due to be transported from the Greek islands to the Turkish coast between today, Monday, and Wednesday. More than 5,400 are being detained on the islands in EU "hotspots" to prevent them from escaping subsequent deportation measures. Several UN agencies have publicly criticized the EU measures - largely enforced by the German government - as being in violation of international law. Clinging to these measures of mass deportation, Berlin and Brussels are heading toward an open conflict with the United Nations. In protest, international aid organizations have suspended their activities in these detention "hotspots," refusing to become complicit in the EU's scheme. Protest by refugees is escalating on the islands and mainland of Greece. The government in Athens is expecting massive resistance to these mass deportations. However, to ensure successful deportations, Berlin has dispatched German personnel - members of the Federal Police and of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) - to the Greek islands. For the German government, these, under international law illegal measures, are of strategic importance. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN/MUNICH | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN/MUNICH (Own report) - The German judiciary has initiated new criminal proceedings against German arms companies because of their multi-millions in bribes payments in Greece. Last month, the states attorney's office in Munich brought charges against a former manager of the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) tank producing company. He is charged with having personally pocketed up to €1.5 million of a much larger bribe without paying the adequate taxes. Other managers, for example of the Rheinmetall arms manufacturer, are also being threatened with criminal charges. In late last December, a German court sentenced the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall company to pay the unprecedentedly inflated profit of nearly €37 million into the budget of the Federal State of Bremen. These €37 million were paid by the Greek government for bribery-induced arms deliveries. In answer to its compensation demands, the Greek government is being told that Rheinmetall cannot be punished twice for the same offense. Greek lawsuits against German managers usually remain without consequences, because the German government refuses extradition to Greece after German courts gave more lenient sentences, than they could have expected from a court in Athens. The Greek government estimates its damages alone from the bribes in arms deals at €100 million. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - The Greek government does not exclude the eventuality of indictments of German companies on charges of corruption, according to recent reports, on a contingency plan Athens has prepared for the event that Berlin forces it into state bankruptcy ("Grexit"). According to this plan, Athens would try to bring German companies to court - who have not or have only partially been subject of bribery investigations - to have them pay at least part of the restitution for damages caused by the alleged corruption, officially estimated in the billions. Siemens is the most famous example. A Greek parliamentary investigating committee estimated that, through systematic bribery, this Munich-based company has caused damages of two billion Euros in Greece. However, Siemens got off cheap in an out-of-court settlement and had to pay only 270 million Euros - hardly one fifth of its current quarterly profit. A court in Munich gave a Siemens manager a suspended sentence - significantly less than what he could have expected from a trial in Athens. Already in the fall of 2014, new legal proceedings had been opened in Athens to comprehensively investigate this systematic corruption. more…

BERLIN/ROME/PARIS | | griechenland

BERLIN/ROME/PARIS (Own report) - In several western and southern European countries, the agreement on Greece reached in Brussels signals a looming collapse of the continental post-war order and Germany's revival as an ostentatious dictatorial power. Whereas social-democratic observers do not exclude an attenuation of the contradictions, southern European conservative media are among those who speak of a revival of German hegemonic ambitions, which had largely determined or triggered the First and Second World Wars. The consequences of the French-Italian submission during negotiations in Brussels are generating those fears, because Paris had not succeeded to and Rome had not even seriously attempted to thwart the German dictates of sovereignty over Greece. Both, Italy and France are aware of the dangers of becoming the next victim of German financial dictatorship. They are competing for admission in a northern European core Europe, whose membership will be decided by Berlin, in the case of a possible collapse of the European Union. Current events are directly linked to German foreign policy endeavors in the 1990s and the territorial expansion of Germany's economic basis through the so-called reunification. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - At Berlin's insistence, Greece will not receive debt relief and will be forced to submit - contrary to the Greek population's "No" last Sunday - to Germany's austerity dictate, or exit the Eurozone. This is what the Eurogroup decided at its summit yesterday evening. Debt relief, as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had been still considering yesterday afternoon, is out of the question, announced German Chancellor Angela Merkel following the meeting in Brussels. Athens will also have to present detailed austerity proposals by Thursday. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker explicitly declared, "if the Greek government is not doing what we expect" a "Grexit" will be initiated. According to insiders, cash will be available at Greek banks only for another two days. By withholding ECB emergency funding, Greece can be driven into collapse, at any time. Just prior to the summit, leading economists signed an appeal to Chancellor Merkel, asking her to stop the "never-ending austerity" - to no avail. In the meantime, even Washington has intervened in the debate. A special EU summit, convened for Sunday, will take the final decision on Greece's future. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN/PARIS | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - Germany’s imposition of its austerity policy suffered a first serious defeat in yesterday’s Greek referendum. Over 61 percent of the Greek voters rejected an agreement with the creditors that would have provided for a continuation of the German austerity measures. This defeat is all the more serious for Berlin, because German politicians had massively interfered in the Greek referendum debate. The decision whether there will be new negotiations - and if so, under what conditions - must now be taken. Whereas many Greeks celebrated the rejection of the austerity dictate yesterday evening, German politicians declared that it is "difficult to imagine" new negotiations with the government of Prime Minister Tsipras (the German Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel). Greece is heading toward a Grexit and a "humanitarian catastrophe" (Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament). Paris however is risking conflict with Berlin. Yesterday evening, the governing Parti Socialiste (PS) took a clear stand "against the austerity measures," which has "shriveled Greece's Gross Domestic Product and driven a large number of Greeks into poverty." Today’s meeting between the German chancellor and the French president may produce the first decisions. more…

THESSALONIKI | | griechenland

THESSALONIKI The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the "Train of Commemoration" are demanding that the receipts extorted from Greece during the anti-Semitic deportations of the "Reichsbahn" be reimbursed. german-foreign-policy.com documents their joint letter addressed to the Board of Management of the Deutsche Bahn AG. more…

Urgent Appeal

THESSALONIKI/ROME/BERLIN | | griechenland

THESSALONIKI/ROME/BERLIN (Own report) - The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the "Train of Commemoration" are demanding, in a joint letter addressed to the Board of Management of the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG), that the receipts extorted from Greece during the anti-Semitic deportations of the "Reichsbahn" be reimbursed. In 1943, the State-owned railway company had collected through its complicity in the mass murder of more than 58,000 Jewish Greeks, more than 2 million reichsmark in ticket fares. This money found its way into the coffers of the German Ministry of Finances and has never been reimbursed. The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the "Train of Commemoration" have calculated the debt - including the 72 years of accumulated interests - to be more than 89 million Euros. The debtors are the DB AG and the Federal Republic of Germany. The joint open letter of the Greek-German cooperation partners accuses Berlin of withholding money obtained through crimes against humanity. The "Train of Commemoration" calls for launching an international appeal to add emphasis to their joint initiative. more…

Among Vultures

BERLIN/ATHENS | | griechenland

BERLIN/ATHENS (Own report) - The Greek government's continued resistance is placing numerous German projects for restructuring the Greek economy and administration in jeopardy. In the short term, these projects - under the auspices of the German Foreign Ministry and Germany's Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - are aimed at overcoming German production bottlenecks by using idle Greek suppliers and unemployed workers. The medium-term action program includes siphoning finances from Greek municipalities and providing the German health system cheap Greek auxiliaries ("Nursing Leave on Rhodes Island"). To comply with future higher requirements, Athens is being asked to establish an "innovation system" to form a network between "science, economy, and administration" to create "business-friendly structures." These measures will be coordinated by the German-Greek Assembly (DGV), working allegedly in the "spirit of a grassroots movement." The DGV has no legal function and is registered under a German government address. Disguised as a civil society organization, while also serving the German Foreign Ministry and its "German-Greek Youth Foundation," the DGV was established by the German Chancellery during the first peak in the so-called debt crisis. more…