HERZOGENAURACH/KIETRZ |

HERZOGENAURACH/KIETRZ (Own report) - The Schaeffler enterprise group has admitted to previously concealed wartime business operations under the Nazis. This enterprise's predecessor was a factory bought under-priced in 1940, because its Jewish owner was forced to flee the country. The machines used by the Schaefflers to continue their business after the war, originated from arms production for the Wehrmacht. During World War II, the entrepreneurial family was also exploiting Polish, Russian and French slave labor, according to an expertise by the historian Gregor Schoellgen, confirming the recently published research by german-foreign-policy.com. It is not yet clear, if the former Schaeffler AG from Katscher (today's Kietrz) had business relations with the Auschwitz extermination camp. Whereas Schoellgen has yet to find proof of these relations, Polish historians report that after the German troops retreated from Katscher, human hair contaminated with hydrogen cyanide was found on the premises of a local "Schoeffler AG". german-foreign-policy.com published excerpts of these reports. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/KABUL | | afghanistan

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/KABUL (Own report) - Berlin's new special envoy for Afghanistan is leaving this week for Washington, to coordinate the West's war strategy. An escalation of the fighting has already been decided; therefore the Bundeswehr (German military) is increasing its number of troops at the Hindu Kush, for the time being, by 600. The new US administration is still insisting that more troops be sent. Among the immediate difficulties to be quickly solved, is the question of supply routes, because the previous main route through Pakistan is, to a growing degree, coming under insurgent attack. Russia is offering the West a logistical service - permits for rail transit of military cargo. The mobilization of more non-military aid personnel is also being discussed, as well as support from India and even Iran. The most recent UN surveys indicate that due to the escalation of combat last year, the number of civilian casualties has risen by 40%, confirming the disastrous development of the war. more…

LAMPEDUSA/BERLIN | | italien

LAMPEDUSA/BERLIN (Own report) - In spite of the escalation of asylum seekers' revolts in the EU's migrant detention camps and deportation prisons, Berlin is refusing to humanize the European asylum policy. The EU's Commissioner in charge of interior policy, Jacques Barrot has demanded that the - at times, ridiculously - low admission quotas in the asylum granting procedures be raised and minimum standards be set, bringing the refugees' living conditions up to a humane level. The German interior ministry declared that it is not prepared to carry out these demands. Just recently, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the German contribution to "combating refugees" - even in the Mediterranean, where migrants from Africa are, in the meantime, putting up resistance against their incarceration and mass deportation. The protests were not limited to Lampedusa, where brutal deportation attempts resulted in a complete breakdown, but have now reached the Italian mainland and Malta. The escalation is also a result of Berlin's refugee-blocking system, that has heightened the pressure on the external EU borders. more…

BERLIN/DJIBOUTI |

BERLIN/DJIBOUTI (Own report) - The international deployment of warships at the Horn of Africa is being accompanied by transatlantic rivalry. Two dozen frigates and destroyers from more than a dozen nations are engaged in anti-piracy operations in one of the world's most important maritime trade route regions. At the same time, leading western powers are insisting on separate command structures. Whereas the EU is putting its first naval mission to the test, the USA has, for its part, founded a new multi-national alliance, which also includes European nations. Therefore the EU and the USA are for the first time entering into military competition with one another and struggling for the leadership. At the same time, with the construction of several naval bases, Russia is strategically strengthening its position in the region. The German base, in this contested region, is located in Djibouti. Naval circles are beginning to prepare public opinion to accept the permanent presence of German warships at the Horn of Africa. more…

War Economy

BAGHDAD/BERLIN/BIELEFELD | | irak

BAGHDAD/BERLIN/BIELEFELD (Own report) - German entrepreneurs are hoping that the German foreign minister's visit to Baghdad will bring new business opportunities in Iraq. After the extensive war damage, German entrepreneurs are hoping to profit from the elaborate reconstruction program now to be implemented, particularly since, according to Berlin, the Iraqi government has generated through its savings a budget surplus of US $13 billion in 2008. Iraq specialists in Berlin explain that the German companies' activities in Iraq are already much more extensive than is generally known, often operating under pseudonyms - for security reasons. German businesses have a special program to recruit local employees ("Rebuild Iraq Recruitment Program"). A security firm from Bielefeld is engaging former members of police and military elite units to escort German managers, who have to make business trips to Iraq. German business with Iraq is an example for how to assure maximum profits in foreign countries even under conditions of war. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Subsequent to this year's European Police Congress held in Berlin, the German government has been demanding an expeditious broadening of police powers within the EU. Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Interior Ministry, Peter Altmaier, is particularly demanding that domestic databanks be made easily accessible to foreign authorities. At this week's European Police Congress, representatives of politics, government officials and from the "security industries" discussed an appropriate application of these guidelines and further steps for the elaboration of European repression. The so-called security industry is considered the most secure boom sector of the economy, whose volume on the global market should reach a quarter of a billion US dollars by 2015. Bankers are recommending the purchase of stocks. According to experts, the development of a growing asymmetry at both the national and international levels, is leading to a fusion of state administrations. The most recent step in this direction is a cooperation accord between the alleged civilian Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and the German Federal Police. more…

MUNICH/BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

MUNICH/BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Through its nuclear alliance with Moscow, the German Siemens Corp. now has the perspective of participating in military nuclear projects. This is the outcome of the most recent talks held by the corporation's leaders with the prime minister of Russia. According to these talks, contrary to the initial announcement, this rapidly initiated cooperation will not be restricted to the state-owned Atomenergoprom, which consolidates the entire civilian nuclear economy of Russia. It extends mainly to the Rosatom nuclear administration, which is also in control of the military nuclear sector. Rosatom has currently drawn public attention because it is completing the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant, whose construction had been initiated by Siemens. This new perspective for Siemens cannot come as a complete surprise. For over a year Siemens has held a considerable amount of shares in a Russian turbine producer that produces also components for nuclear submarines and the arms industry. The German-Russian nuclear alliance is projected to last for decades and is due to be contractually finalized this spring. more…

Old Allies

RIAD/BERLIN | | afghanistansaudi-arabien

RIAD/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is trying to engage the feudal elite of Saudi-Arabia in the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. According to the German Ministry of the Interior, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former chief of the Saudi intelligence service, spent several days in Berlin to discuss how to "enhance the cooperation between the two states in the field of security policy". The discussion focused particularly on ways to "improve the security in the Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan." Since the 1980s, Prince Turki al-Faisal has had close contacts in that region, when he organized Saudi support for the West- German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and other western intelligence services in their efforts to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, with the help of Islamic Jihadists. At the time, Osama Bin Laden was one of Turki al-Faisal's partners. Today, Berlin would like for this former Saudi intelligence chief to once again use his contacts in the war zone on behalf of the West. But this time to crush the former accomplices in the war against the Soviet Union, that he helped take power. more…

VATICAN/BERLIN |

VATICAN/BERLIN (Own report) - German Catholic parliamentarians are reacting with indignation to the criticism of the German Pope. Georg Brunnhuber, member of the German Bundestag (CDU) declared, the Vatican has the "impression" that "anti-Catholic resentment" is spreading in Germany. Rather then criticizing Benedict XVI, Chancellor Merkel should accentuate "Christian values in Berlin's coalition government", demands Bernd Posselt, member of the European parliament (CSU). The current controversy was provoked by the Pope's measures to enhance his policy, which, to a large extent, has the approval of Berlin. The policy is promoting a Christian-oriented Europe and favors German strategies in foreign policy. To implement his concepts, Benedict XVI is cooperating with powerful reactionary organizations, which at the moment are provoking open protest. The most powerful organization, Opus Dei, very active also in Germany, receives subventions from the German government. more…

MUNICH/WASHINGTON/TEHERAN | | iranusa

MUNICH/WASHINGTON/TEHERAN (Own report) - Prior to this year's Munich Security Conference, Berlin is pushing for a change in the Western Middle East policy. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman and host of the Munich Security Conference is demanding a new approach to Teheran, and particularly that the USA establishes "normal relations with Teheran". High ranking Iranian politicians are expected in Munich this weekend for talks. This has to be seen in the context of Berlin's attempt to obtain access to Iran's extensive natural gas reserves. The planning of an appropriate pipeline ("Nabucco") was accelerated last week. US sanctions against Iran are presently an obstacle to the implementation of German plans. Think tanks in Berlin are elaborating strategies for facilitating access to the Iranian resources while simultaneously preventing Teheran's rise - not through open military threats but through a Western controlled balance of weakness in the Middle East. more…