VIENNA/BERLIN | | oesterreich

VIENNA/BERLIN (Own report) - The United Nations is protesting against the surveillance of its Vienna-based institutions conducted for years by the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). The Vienna International Center ("UNO City") "expects" that member states "respect the organization's independence as well as the inviolability of its premises." According to recent reports, from 1999 to 2006, the BND had monitored at least 2000 communication lines in Austria including those of the Vienna Chancellery and 128 telecommunication lines of the United Nations. The BND's espionage in Austria has been known since 2015, but never clarified, because the competent German authorities, including the German Chancellery, refused to render Vienna the necessary assistance. The BND is accused of repeatedly refusing to tell the intelligence service monitors their reasons for spying, for example, on a "public body" of an EU member state. At the time of the large-scale spying in Austria, the current German President bore the highest responsibility for BND activities. more…

ROM/BERLIN |

ROM/BERLIN (Own report) - Once again, an Italian court has overruled the German government's refusal to compensate Nazi victims. The Civil Court of Rome has ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the son of Paolo Frascà, an Italian who had been arrested and tortured in early 1944 by the Nazi occupiers and was murdered on March 24, 1944 in the Ardeatine Caves alongside 334 other civilians. The Italian judiciary has thus, once again, rejected the German demand that private individuals not be allowed to file lawsuits against Germany in foreign courts because it would violate "state immunity." While Berlin is trying hard to prevent such lawsuits in the future, on Thursday, a court in Cologne is expected to pronounce its ruling in a lawsuit filed by a victim of the Nazi's forced Germanization. The plaintiff was kidnapped by the Nazi occupation forces - probably like hundreds of thousands of other children - from his family and was brought to the Nazi Reich for "Germanization." Commemoration initiatives are calling for a memorial ceremony. more…

BERLIN/ PYONGYANG | | kvdr

BERLIN/ PYONGYANG (Own report) - Following yesterday's summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Head of State Kim Jong Un, German politicians are calling on Berlin and the EU to participate in a "process of multilateral dialogue" in Northeast Asia. Berlin should launch a "German-French initiative" to intervene in the upcoming negotiations with Pyongyang, declared Hartmut Koschyk (CSU), who, has been engaged in talks in South and North Korea, for a long time. South Korea's President Moon Jae-in would be quite receptive to intensifying German-European activities on the Korean Peninsula. German business representatives are hoping for profitable deals, particularly because of the recent developments in North Korea. Having acquired the capacity of nuclear deterrence, the North Korean leadership is planning to focus the country's resources on its economic development. Since 2013, Pyongyang has established 22 special economic zones. The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) is demanding that Berlin promote business with North Korea through the German Development Bank (KfW) and with Hermes export credit guarantees. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The G7 summit in La Malbaie, Canada, ended in open dissent on Saturday without a joint final declaration. After the G7 state and government leaders had already agreed on a joint statement, US President Donald Trump withdrew his endorsement. The document is still supported by the other six G7 states and is occasionally referred to as the "G6" declaration, to point out the deep rift in the traditional West. Whereas German business circles still call for making concessions in the trade conflict with Washington, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is considering new cooperation frameworks with states "beyond classical alliances, such as NATO." This however would be in contrast to the agreement reached at the G7 summit on a mechanism aimed at a common response to cyber attacks and attacks such as the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury. According to scholars of the German Bundestag, Moscow's alleged responsibility has still not been proven. more…

WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usa

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in "liberating" an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the "Draco" militia. "Draco" is the Latin term for "dragon" - a symbol for China. more…

"Interfere!"

ROME/BERLIN | | italien

ROME/BERLIN (Own report) - Following massive pressure from Berlin, Italy's new government has renounced on appointing a well-known euroskeptic to become economy and finance minister. The renowned economist Paolo Savona must accept a less prominent post as Minister for European Affairs - above all because he criticizes Germany's blatant policy of domination at the expense of the other euro zone countries. The far right Lega Nord is now almost as strongly represented in Rome's government as the 5-Star Movement: Due to Germany's open interference, Lega's poll ratings have soared, thereby significantly increasing its political clout. In the run-up, German politicians and media had reactivated a tactic they had been using since the beginning of the euro crisis: With warnings of harsh financial market reactions, they fuel the fear of a crisis, thus applying even more pressure on Rome. According to German media with wide circulation, Italy's policy "concerns all of us" - "Interfere!" more…

Eurocracy

ROME/BERLIN | | italien

ROME/BERLIN (Own report) - Following massive complaints from Germany, Italy's President Sergio Mattarella blocked a euroskeptic from becoming his country's finance minister, appointing an IMF man - favored by Berlin - to be prime minister. The democratically elected 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega Nord majority's opportunity to form a government was thereby denied. Euroskeptic Paolo Savona, a renowned career economist, was rejected because he could not have insured the maintenance of the EU's common currency. Under his administration, resistance to Berlin's austerity dictate could have been expected, whereas the newly appointed Prime Minster Carlo Cottarelli passed the test a few years ago as the Rome government's austerity commissioner ("Mr. Scissors"). Savona's nomination is the result of Italy's growing euroskepticism, which, in the meantime, is also shared by other economists. "Germany profits, Italy loses" through the introduction of the euro, concludes Savona's alternative candidate to the post of finance minister. more…

Lying in Wait

PYONGYANG/BERLIN | | kvdr

PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) - Taking advantage of North Korea's strategic reorientation, Germany's FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation is resuming its activities in that country. Recently, the North Korean leadership officially ended its policy of a balanced build up of its military and the economy, to prioritize the country's economy, a move, experts note, President Kim Jong Un had been seeking to make for years. However, he initially prioritized the development of the nuclear deterrence capability, to safeguard against a possible US attack. He is now seeking to have UN sanctions lifted, to allow foreign companies into the country. Important steps have already been made. Possibly the Naumann Foundation - which had established contacts to Pyongyang already in 2002 and in 2004 organized a workshop on the country's "economic modernization" - also played a role. Its activities should now intensify. German companies, according to reports, are "lying in wait". more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ended his first official visit to Washington yesterday, without reaching a compromise in the transatlantic dispute over policy on Iran. "We're pursuing two completely different paths," Maas declared following his talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo and the National Security Advisor John Bolton. The EU remains unified in their policy approach, which is diametrically opposed to that of the Trump administration. Berlin's attempts to achieve an independent German-EU policy on Iran opposing Washington's is particularly applauded by Germany's strategists in the establishment's foreign policy sectors. Recommendations of submission to the Trump administration's threats to use force against Teheran, so as not to jeopardize German companies' highly profitable business relations with the US, are coming from business circles. Meanwhile, foreign policy experts recommend developing the euro into an alternative global reserve currency. This could reduce the USA's potential to apply pressure on Germany's economy. more…

LONDON/BERLIN | | grossbritannien

LONDON/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government still has no evidence to substantiate serious allegations it used to justify its participation in the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from several western countries. In its response to a parliamentary interpellation, the government admits it has no findings of its own on the Salisbury nerve gas attack other than the alleged evidence presented by the British government. At the same time, the "arguments" that have been presented so far to suggest Russian guilt are loosing their credibility. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for example, had to contradict the claim of its director general that up to a half-cup of novichok was used in Salisbury. The assumption that only Russia could have produced the neurotoxin has been refuted, since it became known that Germany had also been in possession of the agent. These unproven allegations show, more than anything else, an unrestrained willingness to escalate the power struggle with Moscow. more…