BERLIN | | russische-foederation

BERLIN (Own report) - Nebulous warnings from anonymous intelligence officials are sustaining Brussels and Berlin's campaign against alleged Russian interference in the European election campaign. German flagship media are quoting intelligence officials saying that "efforts" are being made "to support Russia-friendly or EU-critical parties." Presenting no evidence, they claim instead that, in this case, Russian activities are "less visible" than in other cases. The EU has increased its staff and means for its "EU East Stratcom Taskforce," claiming to reveal "pro-Kremlin" propaganda, while openly making propaganda for the European Union. With an annual budget of five million euros, the Taskforce is propagating fake news. To such allegations about Russia's "hybrid war, " advanced, for example, by a US specialist on Russia in an article on the so-called "Gerasimov doctrine," German military officials respond "they are not doing anything different from us." Playing on anti-Russian sentiment, Berlin is increasingly attacking not only the foreign enemy, but also the domestic opposition - as alleged puppets of Moscow. more…

ROME/BERLIN | | italien

ROME/BERLIN (Own report) - Financial experts from Switzerland's major UBS bank are warning of Italy's considerable risks in the case of a recession in the euro zone and they do not rule out the country's exit from the euro. If there is a recession, Rome must expect credit downgrades, UBS notes. Its national debt could easily soar out of control, and leaving the euro possibly could no longer be avoided. A fierce dispute is looming between Berlin and Brussels, on the one hand, and with Rome on the other, because Italy's budget deficit is higher than expected, due to its significant economic slump. Brussels and Berlin are currently only hesitant about engaging in the dispute because of the conflict over the Brexit and particularly because of the approaching EU elections, according to observers. At the same time, Germany is, itself, also moving toward stagnation, not least of all, because of a slump in Germany's export-dependent automotive industry. more…

Murder Pays

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Germany is still paying war victims' pensions to Nazi collaborators abroad, while refusing any compensation to the numerous victims of the Nazis. As was reported a few weeks ago, more than 2000 former Nazi collaborators, living in various European countries, are still receiving monthly state pensions of up to €1,275 from Germany. This has caused considerable anger. However, the administration offices in charge are willing to "examine" the cases of only four former members of the Waffen-SS living in the Netherlands. The German state pays a monthly total of three-quarters of a million euros to former collaborators - whereas it is not in a position to pay a symbolic €2,500 as compensation to an 83-year-old man, who, had been abducted as a child from his parents in occupied Poland to be "Germanized" in Germany. Last week, a German court rejected his final appeal. The Nazis had abducted up to 200,000 children to the Reich. more…

BERLIN/LONDON | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - Germany's Minister of the Economy, Peter Altmaier, warns of the consequences a "hard" Brexit would have on Germany, and sees the danger of the loss of "thousands of jobs." Brussels and London must absolutely "prevent the big crash at the last moment," declared Altmaier yesterday. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) had already warned that a hard Brexit could cost Germany a half-percentage point in growth - €17 billion this year alone. For months, think tanks have been pointing out that Germany would be the country most affected on the continent, if the United Kingdom makes an unregulated exit. Germany possibly may have to expect double-digit billions in annual losses. Most recently, the Bertelsmann Foundation assumed that the losses could be broken down to €115 per inhabitant of Germany. Those losses are looming at a time, when the German economy is in danger of slipping into a recession. Berlin and Brussels could prevent a hard Brexit by setting a time limit on the "backstop," however, they are still hoping for a second referendum - and upping the ante. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON | | russische-foederationusa

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German business circles are readying themselves for a new round of US sanctions against Russia and are warning against a second "Iran scenario, " because of a comprehensive package of US punitive measures, intended to affect also all Russian energy projects abroad. The new sanctions may not only prevent an LNG terminal Novatek plans to build in Rostock, but also facilitate steps against the three - of the twelve - large German refineries in which Rosneft holds shares. As in the case of Iran, from which German companies have almost completely withdrawn following the imposition of US sanctions, the fear of Washington's punitive measures is now foiling new business deals with Russia on a large scale. In addition to the package of sanctions, the Trump administration is expected to impose a second round of punitive measures for Moscow's alleged responsibility for the Salisbury nerve-agent attack. The US President is also threatening to expand its war of sanctions because of Russian support for Venezuela. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The United States is preparing sanctions against European companies participating in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to senior US government officials. German government officials, on the other hand, predict that US sanctions will lead to a confrontation with the whole of the EU. "We will do everything necessary to complete the pipeline." At the same time, the power struggle over the participation of the Chinese Huawei Corporation in setting up the 5G grid in Germany and the EU is escalating. After the German government indicated that it would not exclude, a priori, Huawei, the US ambassador in Berlin is threatening to reduce cooperation between the two countries' intelligence services. US President Donald Trump is also considering calling on countries to pay the full cost of stationing US forces on their soil, plus 50 percent more. German government advisors are pleading for a "policy of 'softer' or 'more robust' countervailing power formation." Europe's "strategic autonomy" is at the core of this power struggle. more…

BERLIN/ROME/BEIJING | | chinaitalien

BERLIN/ROME/BEIJING (Own repot) - The West's power struggle against China is provoking new tensions between Germany and Italy. According to reports published last week, the Italian government plans to conclude a cooperation agreement with Beijing within the framework of the "New Silk Road" (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) to benefit from Chinese investments in Italy's infrastructure, e.g. the Trieste port and Italy's power grid. China has already invested in several of the EU's periphery countries, heavily affected by Berlin's austerity dictate - such as Greece and Portugal - which gladly welcome these investments as relief. The German government is now beginning to make moves against this. Berlin seeks to prevent the People's Republic of China from increasing its influence within the EU and fears inner-European resistance if it takes aggressive action against its East Asian rival. Fierce debates are expected at the EU summit at the end of next week and at the EU-China summit on April 9. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Non-governmental organizations are warning that criticism of Berlin's policies may be repressed by financial pressure applied to organizations critical of the government. The Federal Finance Court has deprived Attac of its public service status. Members of the government coalition parties are demanding that this be also applied to other organizations. The German section of Transparency International warns that this ruling could seriously "restrict" the spectrum of opinions. At the same time, the German government has raised suspicion that student protests for better climate protection are influenced by foreign powers. The French President is calling for the creation of an EU "Agency for the Protection of Democracies" to prevent alleged foreign "manipulations." Pressure on critics of the government is being intensified at a time when, Berlin and the EU are intensifying their struggles to have leading positions in world policy-making. Historically, the fact that attempts to suppress domestic criticism are made in times, such as these, is nothing new. more…

BERLIN/LVIV | | ukraine

BERLIN/LVIV (Own report) - The German government has supported the reconstruction of a street named after the Nazi-collaborator Stepan Bandera in the Ukrainian town of Lviv. As was confirmed by the government’s response to a parliamentary interpellation, the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) granted €72,000 for this project. Bandera was the leading Ukrainian Nazi-collaborator. Members of his group, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) had participated in the mass murder of 4000 Jews in Lviv in late June - early July 1941. Today Bandera is widely revered in Ukraine and the commemoration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which had participated in the Shoah, is state-supported. The government in Kiev, which is closely cooperating with Berlin, is also supporting fascist organizations that attack and destroy Roma settlements. Endorsed by the administration, one of these organizations ("C14") is on patrol in a district of Kiev. It has also been granted state financing for a youth camp - as a contribution to "national-patriotic education." more…

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON | | usachina

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) - An opening is emerging for Berlin to be able to include Huawei in Germany's 5G grid installation - contrary to the massive US campaign. The President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) Arne Schönbohm declared that "an anti-espionage treaty" between Germany and China could help, open the possibility of Huawei's participation in setting up the grid. Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently seeking to conclude such an agreement. The industry is in favor of using Huawei Technology, because it promises to be the fastest and most cost-effective construction of the strategically important 5G grid. Experts warn that without Huawei, Germany could lag at least two years behind in the development. Meanwhile it has become known that for years, the NSA has been eavesdropping not only on China's president but on Huawei as well. Allegedly, US spies cannot show any evidence of Huawei being involved in espionage operations - even after having read the emails of numerous employees and those of the company's board chair. more…