BANGKOK/BERLIN | | thailand

BANGKOK/BERLIN (Own report) - With a degree of apprehension, Berlin is watching developments in Thailand following last Thursday's putsch. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier immediately and strongly condemned the coup and demanded that "new elections be soon" held. Observers warn that otherwise the situation could escalate and lead to uncontrollable controversies, which, strategically, would be a blow to Berlin, since the German Foreign Ministry considers Thailand to be "one of its most important political partners" in Southeast Asia. The region plays a very important role in the power struggle between western countries and the People's Republic of China. To insure its influence, Germany has been cooperating with the Thai armed forces for a long time, in spite of the numerous coups it has staged. The putschists have also benefited from the training Thai military personnel have received in Germany and the German arms supplies to the Thai armed forces. Four years ago, German assault rifles had been used to suppress democratic protests in Bangkok. more…

BANGKOK/BERLIN | | thailand

BANGKOK/BERLIN (Own report) - In the aftermath of the bloody repression of mass protests in Bangkok, the German government is expanding its economic relations with Thailand. "In spite of the persisting domestic crisis" the Thai economy is booming. According to the German Ministry of the Economy, the Thai economic growth is expected to reach around six percent in 2010, and according to business circles, German enterprises are hoping to significantly expand their businesses in Bangkok. At the beginning of July, the Thai foreign minister visited Berlin to give impetus to bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Thailand's government is being sharply criticized internationally, because it came to power through a military coup and had its military brutally repress mass protests in the capital this spring. Recently lawsuits to have the party of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit and his Foreign Minister Kasit dissolved were initiated. This party is being supported by the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation, which is affiliated with the party of Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Minister, and the Minister of the Economy, Rainer Brüderle, with whom Kasit had held talks in Berlin at the beginning of the month. more…

BANGKOK/BERLIN | | thailand

BANGKOK/BERLIN (Own report) - Following last weekend's bloodbath, the government in Thailand - led by long-time partners of the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FDP) - is threatening to continue its use of military force against mass protests in Bangkok. As observers note, the escalating confrontation between demonstrators demanding new elections and the army is bringing Thailand "to the brink of civil war". The country's old elite - made up of the military, big industry and the royal dynasty - fear that the growing democratic movement will restrict their predominance. Some in the old elite, particularly the Democrat Party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, have for years already been cooperating with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Alone since Mai 14, they are responsible for the deaths of at least 36 protesters. The Naumann Foundation had shown sympathy toward a putsch by the traditional elite in 2006 and the subsequent, heavily contested outlawing of a popular party, because "it could not have been done democratically". The assistant, who was responsible for the Naumann Foundation's activities at the time and for the support of the traditional elites from 2007 to 2009, is today head of the Asia department in the German Ministry for Development. more…

BANGKOK/BERLIN | | thailand

BANGKOK/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government coalition FDP Party and its party foundation are cooperating with Thailand's putsch profiteers. Their Thai cooperation partner is the Democrat Party, of Prime Minister Abhisit, whose government has for weeks been using the military against the demonstrators in Bangkok. Ten days ago, the troops, which are still deployed, shot and killed dozens of demonstrators. In a discussion with this journal, Mark Teufel, an expert on Thailand, told German-foreign-policy.com that the Democrat Party, which is being supported also by the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation, was put in power in late 2008 by forces that had been responsible for the putsch in 2006. They supported Thailand's monarchy and the power clique behind it, whose influence is being defended against the burgeoning democratic movement. At the end of March, the chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Wolfang Gerhardt, met with high-ranking representatives of that party, whose chairman, Prime Minister Abhisit had already agreed to deploy one-fifth of Thailand's entire army against those demonstrating in favor of free elections. more…

WOLFSBURG/LEIPZIG/BANGKOK | | thailand

WOLFSBURG/LEIPZIG/BANGKOK (Own report) - Confessions made in the state controlled Volkswagen Corp. (VW) corruption scandal, expose similarities to the most recent political scandal in Saxony. At the Volkswagen Corp., criminal activities were linked to pleasure trips. To further production management of high-ranking company representatives and make the representatives of the employees more conciliatory to international expansion of the company, prostitutes were provided at company costs. The scheming in Wolfsburg, the seat of VW, was not only at the expense of the Czech subsidiary, Skoda and its staff, it was also linked to world-wide sexploitation structures, that have led numerous women in poverty stricken areas around the globe to secure their living through the low-paying sexual services to men from the western centers of prosperity. So-called pleasure trips, often also known as sex tourism, are sharply criticized by women's and human rights organizations, for the fact that during its course there is recurrence of sexual brutality and abuse of children. The functioning of this business and the interests behind it are demonstrated through revelations in Leipzig. Germany is among the most important point of departure for sex-tourism. more…