AUGSBURG |

AUGSBURG (Own report) - This weekend the "Sudeten German Homeland Association" is celebrating its sixtieth "Sudeten German Day" with the active participation of prominent politicians and an extreme rightwing organization. As always, this mass meeting put on by the "Vertriebenen" ("Expellees") Association in Augsburg, Bavaria, is being billed as a protest against laws, with constitutional status, in two EU member states - the "Benes Decrees" of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The event will be honored with a message of greetings from the German Minister of the Interior. Also present will be the "Witikobund," which represents the radically ethnic chauvinist wing of the "Sudeten German Homeland Association" and maintains contact to rightwing extremists. A functionary of the NPD (the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany) is a member of the presidium of its youth organization. Notwithstanding, government support for this weekend's event is assured, because the German government declares the post-war resettlement of Germans an "injustice" and with the support of the "expellee" associations seeks to add emphasis to this opinion. For the same reason, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media just recently announced that the "Center against Expulsions" (Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation) has begun to function. Berlin is keeping its eastern neighbors under pressure with its legal opinion that German resettlement was an "injustice". more…

BERLIN/ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON | | pakistan

BERLIN/ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The German government is contributing to the escalation of war in Pakistan with weaponry, military training and finances. As announced by the German Ministry of Defense, the German military (Bundeswehr) will broaden training programs for the Pakistani military to support its counterinsurgency efforts in the northwest of the country. The establishment of new border control centers as well as arms deliveries is also being discussed. The German military is considering a NATO intervention, in which, according to the situation, German participation could become an option. The new war is a consequence of the West's occupation of Afghanistan. For years, anti-western resistance has been spreading to Pakistan and is now approaching the capital Islamabad. Under western pressure, the Pakistani government has ceased its efforts to reach a peaceful solution this month and launched a comprehensive military offensive. Islamabad will be able to handle the foreseeable mass flight of millions of refugees from the combat area only with western aid. With "humanitarian aid," for example from the Berlin government, it will be possible to channel and control the movement of refugees. This aid constitutes thereby an indirect financial contribution to the war. more…

BERLIN/RIAD/ABU DHABI | | vae

BERLIN/RIAD/ABU DHABI (Own report) - The German government has approved new weapons exports to areas of tension at the Persian Gulf. According to recent reports, Qatar will receive 36 "leopard 2" model tanks, while other states of the Arabian Peninsula can also be supplied with German weapons. Berlin is thereby reinforcing Iran's Arab rivals, to prevent Teheran from enhancing its position. Germany is simultaneously broadening its economic cooperation with these feudal Arab states. In light of the economic crisis, German companies are focusing on the wealth of these oil monarchies, whose ruling clans dispose of billions in oil sector revenues. Whereas numerous German companies are demanding a "piece of the pie" of the wide-ranging Arab investment programs, it is particularly the German auto industry that is seeking new backing from these prosperous sheiks. One can hear in Berlin that the crisis could be possibly used to institutionalize the long sought linkage between the Gulf States and the EU. Berlin is pushing for a rapid conclusion of an EU trade agreement with these Arabian countries. The German-Arabian military buildup and this business offensive is being overshadowed by accusations of torture brought against a prominent member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, with whom Berlin maintains close contact. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/TEHERAN | | iran

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/TEHERAN (Own report) - Berlin is getting ready for a Western policy change toward Iran. The German Foreign Ministry's special envoy for Afghanistan announced his imminent visit to Teheran to discuss Iran's contribution to the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan. It is being said in Berlin that this type of cooperation with the Iranian government could help reach a negotiated solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, particularly since the new US-administration announced it would hold back on military threats and enforce western hegemony over the Persian Gulf through non-military means. But comprehensive talks can be expected to begin only after the Iranian presidential elections in June, so as not to provide indirect support to Ahmadinejad's election campaign. Berlin has been exploring possibilities for new cooperation with Iran since the beginning of the year. German businesses are pushing for this cooperation to counterbalance, with new exports, the losses they are suffering through the crisis. In exchange, Teheran is offering access to its natural gas reserves. more…

REYKJAVIC/BERLIN |

REYKJAVIC/BERLIN (Own report) - Seeing Iceland as a "strategic bridgehead" to the Arctic realm for the EU, government advisors in Berlin are hoping that Iceland will join the European Union. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) supports the thesis that Reykjavik's joining the EU would be advantageous because the Arctic Ocean will be of great significance as a source of mineral resources and maritime route, due to the melting of the polar cap. Observers are predicting hard struggles for influence (a new "Great Game") and a prompt militarization in the Arctic, on which the island-nation borders. Iceland is a NATO member. Militarily, it was until now, mainly linked to the United States. Since Iceland's financial collapse, the political establishment has been vigorously debating whether to join the EU. A rapid initiation of negotiations is being considered. But SWP warns that a "concerted effort" of politics and the media will be essential to overcome the EU skepticism in Icelandic public opinion to win the mandatory referendum. more…

VATICAN/JERUSALEM |

VATICAN/JERUSALEM (Own report) - The German Pope's visit to Israel, that begins today, is being overshadowed by accusations of his supporting anti-Semitic forces. This is due to a serious internal dispute of the Catholic Church in Germany over the so called Jewish Missionizing. Bishops close to the Pope loudly protested against a recently published declaration calling on the church not to raise itself above Judaism and therefore end efforts to convert Jews to Christianity. This dispute was preceded by a series of papal activities since Joseph Ratzinger took office, to systematically strengthen anti-Semitic forces inside the Catholic Church. These disputes are also influencing his visit to Israel: Benedict XVI will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial but not the Museum, because of commentaries criticizing Pope Pius XII on display there. Pius XII had refused to clearly intervene against the Holocaust. Benedict is planning to soon beatify Pius XII. In other European countries the media has remarked that the German media is systematically concealing the fact that "Ratzinger owes his career to support from Nazi sympathizers." more…

ULM | | jugoslawien

ULM (Own report) - At a "Danube Summit," beginning Wednesday in Ulm, German authorities will be seeking to entrench German hegemony over Southeast Europe. With the participation of several heads of states, the summit will round off preparations for an alliance of all Danube riparian countries. The "Council of the Danube Cities and Regions", is to be established in June with the aim of "reorganizing the European Danube regions" into an integrated economic realm, a prerequisite for obtaining access to the largest possible share of EU subventions, according to German business circles. German business already holds an unrivalled position along the Danube and will particularly profit from these initiatives and subventions. The Danube Council will have its seat in Ulm. The Southeast expansion of German businesses is already under the responsibility of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Ulm. The current Danube projects are in line with an old tradition of Berlin's hegemonic policies that considered Southeast Europe to be the centerpiece of German expansion. more…

BERLIN/DRESDEN/NEU-ULM |

BERLIN/DRESDEN/NEU-ULM (Own report) - The NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) is using the global economic crisis to intensify its mobilization efforts on the First of May. The party has announced that it will intervene even more actively than before with "national responses to the economic crisis" and struggle "wherever popular resistance raises its head" to take the path of a "national and social renewal." On today's "International Worker's Day", NPD rallies will be held under the Nazi period's "Buy German" slogan. According to recent research, rightwing extremists are gaining strength particularly among the youth and are intensifying physical attacks on both non-Germans and their German opponents. The rightwing motivated crime rate rose last year by 16 percent, five percent of all fifteen year-olds are organized in a rightwing extremist group. The basis of this development is a dramatic rise in German nationalism. According to a recently published study, about 60 percent of the population is "proud to be German," 70 percent declare that their "German-ness" is endangered through immigration. more…