ROSTOCK/HOHENFELS/BAGHDAD/LINZ | | usa

ROSTOCK/HOHENFELS/BAGHDAD/LINZ (Own report) - With the procurement of thousands of "extras", German firms are helping the US Army in its military training for illegal combat missions in Iraq. The company "Firma DSS" in Rostock (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) for example, is supplying civilians ("Civilians on the Battlefield") for maneuvers to prepare for deployment, in a war being waged in violation of international law. The "Firma DSS" prefers recruiting Iraqis, because of their knowledge of "traditions and habits" in the war zone. But also Afghans are being hired to play extras during the training for the deployment at the Hindu Kush. These maneuvers are being carried out on the Hohenfels (Bavaria) military compound, the second largest US military training center in Europe, after nearby Grafenwoehr. Washington is investing billions of dollars to expand both military installations. Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr are playing a central role in US planing for future combat missions in the so called war on terror. The German military (Bundeswehr) is also using these combat training centers to prepare for joint deployments. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German ministry of transport refuses financial support for the "Commemoration Train" with its exhibition dedicated to the victims of the Nazi "Reichsbahn"-deportations. At the same time, the Deutsche Bahn AG is demanding that the organizers of the train exhibition pay track tolls and tens of thousands of Euros to display photos and last letters of the deportees during stopovers in German train stations. The Deutsche Bahn's management declined to waive the fees, provoking strong reactions from the unexpected large number of visitors to the "Train of Commemoration" exposition. According to the organizers, over 20,000 people have visited the train since it began its journey on November 8, 2007. If the organizers would meet all the demands for stopovers arriving from all corners of Germany, the length of the route would have to be doubled. The Ministry of Transport under Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) has categorically refused to help pay the costs. As co-owner of the Bahn AG, the transport ministry is wallowing in wealth and is supervising billions in acquisitions of foreign railway companies. In a few days, the Bahn AG will inaugurate a new ICE-route to Denmark after taking control of two thirds of the British rail freight transportation. Through a subsidiary, the Bahn AG is also involved in war logistics. more…

NEW YORK | | kongo-kinshasa

NEW YORK In early 2006, the UN Security Council strongly criticised the German government and German enterprises for their role in North Kivu (East Congo). A Security Council expertise describes the developments concerning the Lueshe Mine. german-foreign-policy.com is documenting excerpts. (Signature: S/2006/53) more…

GOMA/KIGALI/BERLIN | | kongo-kinshasaruanda

GOMA/KIGALI/BERLIN (Own report) - Just one year after the deployment of German military in the Congo, Germany's close partner, Rwanda, is again involved in a military conflict with that country. With a militia of irregulars, Rwanda, one of the main recipients of so called German development aid, is involved in the power struggle in East Congo, a region rich in natural resources. Rwanda is supporting Congolese irregular troops, who have taken control of several regions rich in natural resources and refuse to demobilize. According to human rights organizations, they are recruiting large numbers of children and are using rape as a means of warfare. Nkunda's militia, accused of severe human rights violations, has close ties to Rwanda. Berlin nevertheless is expanding its aid to Rwanda. At the same time, a German enterprise announced its plans to resume the extraction of precious metals in the eastern Congolese war zone. This enterprise's activities in that region came under heavy criticism of the UN Security Council last year. The Security Council also criticized the German government's involvement in this affair, particularly concerning the activities of internationally wanted war criminals. This scandalous affair follows the logic of German policy in Central Africa: To secure its influence, Berlin is using its former colony Rwanda. more…

ASUNCIÓN/BERLIN | | paraguay

ASUNCIÓN/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is thwarting measures aimed at fighting poverty in Paraguay and extorting special privileges for German large landowners ("latifundistas"). Victims of these measures are the landless peasants, many of whom live below the poverty line, who were promised by the Paraguayan constitution plots of the fallow laying latifundia. Those benefiting are German citizens, who - often for reasons of speculation - bought real estate in Paraguay, but are not using it. Applying the "Investment Protection Agreement," Berlin is thwarting that the property be expropriated, compensated and granted to the needy landless peasants - in accordance with Paraguayan law. Several aid organizations have reported that the German embassy in Asunción intervened in opposition to the land reform measures. The German government remains relentless, in spite of the Inter-American Court ruling that the preferential treatment granted the latifundistas is a Human Rights violation. more…

BUDAPEST/BERLIN | | ungarn

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - The Hungarian National Assembly commemorated the post World War II "disfranchisement and expulsion of Hungarian Germans" on November 16, with the presidents of the German and the European parliaments in attendance. The occasion was a conference on the 60th anniversary of the relocation of the ethnic Germans of Hungary. The conference had been initiated by the social democratic president of the Hungarian Parliament, Katalin Szili. She sees the post war relocation decisions, which were derived from the Potsdam Conference, as "documents of shame". She also rejects the Czech government's Beneš Decrees and recently called off a visit to Slovakia, because, contrary to Budapest - the parliament in Bratislava did not annul the 1945 relocation decisions. Preceding the November 16 session, the President of the Association of Displaced Persons (Bund der Vertriebenen BdV), Erika Steinbach, awarded Szili with the association's Medal of Honor. Hoping to profit from the annulment of the post war order, Budapest is cooperating with Berlin. Hundreds of thousands of members of the Hungarian speaking minority in Slovakia are hoping for reparations and restitution if the Beneš Decrees are abrogated. The German-Hungarian revisionist axis had been forged long before the 1989 upheaval and consolidated through government accords. Its offensive against Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia is gaining momentum. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own Report) - The German arms industry was able to consolidate its leadership position among European producers with its new billions of Euros worth of exports in military hardware. According to the "Arms Exports Report 2006" of the German Ministry of Economics and Technology, Germany granted export licenses valued at 4.2 billion Euros. Again among the prospective recipients of German military products are nations in warfare and crisis zones, among them Iraq (export volume 10 million Euros), Saudi Arabia (57 million Euros) and Pakistan (135 million Euros). The exports offensive is accompanied by influential measures at the EU level, intended to insure more contracts within Europe for the German arms industry. Berlin has been able to impose the former Defense Ministry's "director of the Arms Sector" as the new chief executive of the European Defence Agency, EDA. The efforts of German corporations to outdo their European rivals in military hardware production, is having a worldwide effect. Today EU nations are exporting, as much military hardware as the USA and Russia and are thereby significantly contributing to the global increase in the arms trade. more…

BERLIN/FRANKFURT |

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Own report) - Three years after the beginning of the serious dispute concerning the Deutsche Reichsbahn's role in Nazi deportations from all parts of Europe, the company's successor, the Deutsche Bahn (DB), with headquarters in Berlin, has yielded to international pressure and granted access to the premises of train stations for commemoration activities. The "Commemoration Train" will arrive Thursday Nov. 8, unimpeded in the Frankfurt main station and begin its 3,000 km journey through locations from where deportations were made. The train will be transporting an exhibition about the fate of more than 12,000 children from Germany, who had been carried off to death camps. European biographies remind of the murdered children and youth from formerly occupied states, estimated at more than a million. The "Commemoration Train" is sponsored by citizens' initiatives throughout Germany and is financed through donations. The German Ministry of Transportation, which, months ago, had been solicited for aid, has left all pleas unanswered. The inauguration of this unusual campaign, that has now prevailed over the explicit resistance of government institutions, has evoked the interest of foreign media. more…

PARIS/HAMBURG | | frankreich

PARIS/HAMBURG (Own report) - With the support of German state institutions, the notorious "Alfred Toepfer Stiftung, F.V.S." is once again planning to make an appearance in France, after numerous attempts. The Hamburg based foundation is organizing a vernissage at the Maison Heinrich Heine in the Cité internationale universitaire in Paris on November 7. By appearing as patron of the arts, the foundation is seeking to cover up its eponym, Alfred Toepfer's, shady past and is encountering heavy French resistance. The critics are pointing to the Nazi activities of the Hamburg merchant and founding father of the foundation, Alfred Toepfer, who had had close ties to the SS and high ranking Nazi officials. During World War II, Toepfer had worked also for the German administration in charge of occupied Paris ("Sabotage and Subversion in Enemy States"). His activities were inimical to France. He had promoted an ethnically oriented "new order" for Europe under German hegemony. The critics in the French capital are outraged, because the vernissage will have as its motto, Toepfer's battle cry "Europe". more…

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS |

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS (Own report) - In the coming week, the German Foreign Ministry, with the German Foreign Minister in attendance, will present the "European Council on Foreign Relations" (EFCR) to the European public. Financed in part by the US billionaire George Soros, this new think tank will help promote an integrated foreign policy of all EU member states, thus laying the groundwork for a future EU foreign minister to be designated, once the EU Reform Treaty is ratified January 1, 2009. The EFCR members include senior EU politicians, such as the former German Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer. According to its Berlin Office, the Council would like "to aid Germany in continuing to assume its exemplary and leading role in Europe". The Council chose November 9, for its inaugural event in the German capital, because this date marks the "birth of a new European history". more…