DUBLIN/BERLIN | | irland

DUBLIN/BERLIN (Own report) - This coming Friday, the people of Ireland will repeat their referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, under strong pressure from Brussels and Berlin. Just a few days before the referendum, German President, Horst Koehler signed the Lisbon Treaty, concluding the ratification process for Germany. This is supposed to be a "signal" to the Irish to withdraw their "No" from the June 2008 referendum and vote "Yes," it is being said in the German capital, where prudent optimism reigns. Under pressure from the continent, Dublin launched an intensive PR campaign tailored to win over the opponents to this elite project, particularly among the urban lower strata and rural inhabitants. Therefore, this referendum can serve as a barometer for how well the elite of the EU, by means of simple PR, will be able to neutralize democratic resistance to their project of domination. In Berlin it is being pointed out that even if the Irish vote "Yes", there is still a danger coming from Great Britain, where, under certain circumstances, the population could also be called upon to express their opinion on the treaty. German political advisors are predicting a clear "No" if this happens. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Guido Westerwelle, Chairman of the FDP (Free Democratic Party), is preparing to take office as the Federal Republic of Germany's tenth foreign minister in the aftermath of the German liberal's electoral success. Westerwelle is a former fellow of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation that embodies, like no other institution, the global activities of the FDP's foreign policy. He has remained closely linked to this organization. The foundation, which disposes of a wide network spanning all continents, caused a commotion recently through its sharp attacks on foreign countries and governments. The foundation provided the main platform for the Tibet campaign that applied strong pressure to the People's Republic of China, in the spring of 2008. This year it began setting up Iranian ethnic minorities in opposition to their government in Teheran. In Latin America, the foundation maintains networks that involve opponents to the Venezuelan and Bolivian governments and, more recently, massively intervened in Honduras - on the side of the putschists, against the democratically elected government. With an FDP foreign minister in office, the Naumann Foundation's significance will grow as well as its aggressive activities within the framework of the German government's foreign policy. more…

WASHINGTON | | usa

WASHINGTON german-foreign-policy.com reports excerpts from a CIA document on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. (Full text: documents.nytimes.com/c-i-a-reports-on-interrogation-methods#p=1 ) more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - In the course of the German cabinet reshuffle, human rights organizations are raising grave accusations against the German government. In a recent Human Rights Watch statement, an expert is demanding that EU governments "reveal the true extent of torture carried out on their soil", because of their assistance in CIA abductions and torture. The German government, in particular, has been thwarting efforts to solve the crimes. The accusations, made public just prior to German federal elections, are raised against the former and newly re-elected Chancellor, Angela Merkel, her future Foreign Minister, Westerwelle (FDP), and particularly against the still incumbent Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. As Head of the Federal Chancellery, Steinmeier was in charge of the German repressive organs' cooperation in torture carried out by the United States in the aftermath of 9/11/2001. The German government is maintaining its silence on its current cooperation with Washington, which has confirmed its continuation of the use of extralegal renditions even though without excessive torture. The Obama administration is therefore reverting to practices established under the Clinton Administration - without Germany's protest. more…

RUESSELSHEIM/VIENNA/MOSCOW | | spaniengrossbritannienbelgien

RUESSELSHEIM/VIENNA/MOSCOW (Own report) - Under massive protests, Opel is preparing further steps toward the consolidation of the European auto industry in Germany. According to recent reports, the company's plants and those of its affiliate Vauxhall in Great Britain and Spain will be scaled back by one-third. The Opel plant in Belgium will be completely shut down. At the same time, loss of jobs in the company's German plants will be far below the average, and an enormous share of this phased out industrial capacity will be transferred to Austria, which has very close economic ties to Germany. Whereas employees in Spain and Belgium have taken to the barricades in opposition to these measures, German trade unionists are defending the plans. Whoever is "not in a competitive position" will have to look job reductions "in the eye," explained the chairman of the German Opel shop committee, Klaus Franz. German trade unionists are among those standing to benefit most from these deals. With the help of billions in Opel employees' wage waivers; they are seeking a ten-percent share of the company, promising an enormous boost in their power. more…

Complicity

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN | | aethiopien

ADDIS ABABA/BERLIN (Own report) - Ethiopian human rights proponents pressed charges against the German government yesterday, because of Berlin's long term support of the regime in Addis Ababa, accused for years of serious violations of human rights. There are sufficient grounds for a "reasonable suspicion" that the German government has committed "complicity in violations of the Völkerstrafgesetzbuch (VStGB - German international criminal code)" declared the Ethiopian Human Rights Committee - Germany and calls on the Office of the Federal Prosecutor in Karlsruhe to initiate the relevant investigations. In fact, over the past few years, Berlin has even intensified its cooperation with Ethiopia, even though government advisors and organizations engaged in development programs have pointed to the Ethiopian regime's extreme repressive character. German complicity even extends to military support for Ethiopia, which is waging a proxy war in Somalia in support of western interests. Behind this complicity is Ethiopia's high strategic significance for Berlin's foreign policy - expounded upon in detail a few years ago by Germany's ambassador to Addis Ababa. more…

BUDAPEST/BERLIN | | ungarn

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - The Hungarian President is calling for an enhancement of the German inspired policy toward minorities within the EU and for the appointment of an EU "commissary for minorities". In Berlin last week, László Sólyom declared that Brussels must create "legal and institutional guarantees" for granting ethnically defined minorities a special position, otherwise "the EU integration process would be endangered." This demand must be seen in the context of the ongoing controversy about the Hungarian speaking minority in Slovakia. Budapest is seeking closer ties to this minority, thereby driving a wedge between the various groups making up its neighboring country. Sólyom traveled to Germany, after Slovakia prevented him from unveiling a statue of a Hungarian national saint in a residential area of the ethnic Hungarian minority on the Hungarian national holiday. The Hungarian national saint is a traditional symbol representing "Greater Hungary". Hungarian efforts to obtain special rights for ethnic language minorities, is in line with German efforts to establish closer ties to the German speaking populations in neighboring countries - thereby subverting these countries sovereignty. more…

BEIJING/BERLIN | | chinausbekistan

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) - With sharp German criticism of human rights violations in Central Asia, the EU proceeded yesterday, Tuesday, with its negotiations for cooperation with the countries of that region. These negotiations, along the lines of an "EU Central Asian Strategy" successfully imposed by Berlin in 2007, are aimed at assuring German-European influence over the resources rich region along the Caspian Sea. This is of significant geostrategic importance. Against the opposition, put up by several EU countries, the German government has for years been ignoring the question of human rights violations, in Uzbekistan among others, so as not to impinge upon the efforts to develop cooperation. Government advisors in Berlin are now warning that China's influence in Central Asia is growing and blocking the development of closer links to Europe. It is a fact that Beijing's efforts to obtain access to the resources of Central Asia are quite successful. Berlin is increasing its pressure and is using suspected human rights violations to strengthen its own position. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Disputes within the establishment in Berlin are flanking the debate of the Kunduz massacre that was ordered by a German officer. While the German government is attempting to smother all criticism of the attack at night on two tanker trucks, using diplomatic initiatives to stop the criticism of allied countries, government advisors are calling for an open debate about the killing of civilians. There "will be no 'clean war' in Afghanistan." That must be "openly stated," according to an associate of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), who advocates a discussion on the "issue of ending the ISAF mission." Such a debate, as is being promoted by the German foreign minister, had begun a while ago in the USA. If, sooner or later, the US pulls out, Berlin will have to follow suit. Alternatives to a complete withdrawal are being discussed both in the USA and in military circles in Germany: the war could continue to be waged through sustained strikes in Afghanistan from abroad. Special units ("hunter-killer teams") would be brought into action with targeted strikes against the insurgents. more…

SANAA/BERLIN | | yemen

SANAA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr made its first victim at the Horn of Africa, in the aftermath of the massacre near Kunduz, Afghanistan. When German soldiers opened fire on a fleeing boat, a passenger was mortally wounded. The Bundeswehr had suspected the victim of intending to commit piracy and killed him in the vicinity of the Yemeni port city of Al Mukalla. Over the years, as German naval vessels have been patrolling off the Yemeni coast, a civil war has been escalating in that country, placing even German interests in jeopardy. It is reported that the insurgents are being supported by Iran and are strengthening Iran's influence, and that Islamic terrorists are profiting from the weak central government, using Yemen as a staging area and a base of retreat for their activities on the Arabian Peninsular. Berlin is not only using so-called development aid projects to combat Islamist forces, it is also supporting the Yemeni police. In addition, the Bundeswehr is maintaining a "group of advisors" in the country and for years has been seeking to initiate cooperation between the naval forces of both countries. more…