BOLZANO/VIENNA/BERLIN | | italienoesterreich

BOLZANO/VIENNA/BERLIN (Own report) - Ethnic chauvinist forces in Austria are demanding the practical application of German "ethnic rights" to the German speaking population of northern Italy. According to these forces, the government in Vienna should issue Austrian passports to the approx. 300,000 northern Italians (South Tyroleans), whose ancestors had been Austrian up until the First World War. Germany has a long practice of absorbing the citizens of its East European neighboring countries, but this would be the first time involving a West European neighbor. This demand accompanies talks about the addition of a paragraph to the Austrian Constitution, declaring Vienna the "protective power" of the "South Tyroleans" - a direct infringement on the national sovereignty of the EU member nation, Italy. At the same time demands are gaining momentum in South Tyrol for an ethnic based right of secession, also along the lines of German concepts. Already last spring, the word was going around in Northern Italian Green Party circles that the foundation of a "Free State South Tyrol," along the lines of the Liechtenstein model was being considered. The ethnic chauvinist rightwing is seeking annexation by Austria. more…

BUDAPEST/BERLIN | | ungarn

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - The Hungarian media reacted with estrangement to Germany and eight other western nations' diplomatic arm-twisting of Hungary. Through their embassies, the nine countries admonished Budapest with a public protest note, following Hungarian measures against West European and US companies operating in Hungary. A water company lost its lucrative franchise in a southern Hungarian city, because of overpricing and suspicion of irregularities while the German chaired European Bank for Reconstruction and Development along with a US company had to give up the radio frequencies of their stations to their rivals. The protest note was considered a very "unusual step and a venturous interference," an affront, to which the prime minister gave an immediate public response. He said he would take into consideration the objections of the West Europeans and Americans. This procedure shows clearly, to what extent Hungary has become economically dependent, above all, on Berlin. The mere threat of a withdrawal of investments is enough to force Budapest to enact new legislation. more…

BERLIN/MOGADISHU | | somaliachina

BERLIN/MOGADISHU (Own report) - The EU will expand its military operations against "pirates" at the Horn of Africa and train Somali soldiers for land combat missions. This was decided by the EU's foreign and defense ministers. According to their plan, Somali soldiers are to attack the "pirates" on the mainland, thereby depriving them of their bases of retreat. This plan signifies a further escalation of the war in Somalia, which since early 2007 has already cost 19,000 civilians their lives and forced 1.5 million to flee their homes. According to these plans, training will be carried out in Uganda, thereby implicating yet another East African nation in this conflict. On various occasions, Somali militias have threatened reprisals on countries, whose governments have openly taken sides in this conflict. Under pressure from the west, Kenya is also in danger of becoming implicated in this war. At the same time, the EU is expanding its zone of maritime intervention to include the Seychelles. A former head of the Policy and Planning Staff of the German Defense Ministry points out that the naval forces are operating in a region decisive for determining Asia's power constellation - the Indian Ocean. According to this retired Vice Admiral, not only "piracy" will be decided in this region, also the position China will hold in the future. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - Just a few days before the future leading positions for the EU are to be designated, Berlin is raising demands for access to leading posts in the European External Action Service (EEAS)and the EU Commission. As explained by the German Minister of State to the Foreign Ministry, Werner Hoyer, the EU Council President and the Foreign Minister do not have to be German, but Germany "lays great weight" on "relevantly participating" at the administrative level positions just below them, which are considered decisively influential on Brussels' policies. Berlin is giving the new External Action Service a particularly high priority, since it consolidates the EU's external policy and is supposed to provide Brussels with new global power impact. German policy advisors consider that the EU has the "potential of a world power" but point out that this potential must first be established through Brussels' external policy. It was under German pressure that the decision was made to place the EU's military planning and operation staff within the responsibility of the External Action Service, to be able to directly incorporate military operations into EU external policy. In the meantime, the German project of creating an EU army is winning favor. Last weekend the Italian Foreign Minister gave his accord. more…

BERLIN/PARIS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) - At the end of this past week, the establishment in Berlin was reviewing with great satisfaction a week that brought several victories for its partisan interpretation of history. According to observers, the German Chancellor's participation in the commemoration ceremonies of the Armistice ending the First World War in Paris was "a priceless political act". The transformation of the memory of the victory over the German aggressors into a memorial, leveling for the victims "on both sides" of the war, was accompanied by the type of criticism of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, that is usually heard mainly from German revisionists. Berlin's celebration of a "Festival of the Germans" on Nov. 9, the day of the commemoration of the Nazi Pogrom Night in 1938, is an "affront to the Jewish victims," one that would not have been fathomable just a few years earlier, is a statement that was met with applause. "Making policy with history is staking a claim on spiritual leadership" is the way the press summed up the fact that the German interpretation of history is being imposed on the other European nations. This Sunday, Berlin will close the current memorial week with the annual commemoration of the German soldiers killed in battle ("Volkstrauertag" National Day of Mourning). As usual, also German war criminals will be honored at the ceremonies. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - On the occasion of the 20 anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, the German Chancellor is calling for the establishment of a new world order. Monday, at a conference focusing on the consequences of the GDR's collapse, Angela Merkel declared that the United States must be prepared to subordinate itself to multinational organizations, because without "more multinational cooperation" this will "not be a peaceful world". Merkel's remarks reflect Germany's drive, over the past 20 years, to break US hegemony and itself become a world power. Berlin has significantly increased its power, with its persistent expansionist policy over the past few years - also through military means. In 1990, Washington put through West Germany's annexation of the GDR against the resistance of Britain and France. But today on the occasion of the anniversary celebrations, criticism of its rival can be heard in Washington. Germany has become "more powerful, more influential and more dominant than ever before," according to the US press. In reference to Berlin's striving for domination, critics are warning that Germany remains "difficult" and "not entirely a settled place." more…

Total Loss

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German-American negotiations on the occupation strategy for Afghanistan are being flanked by growing tensions in the north of the country. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel was discussing the situation in Afghanistan, Tuesday with US President Barack Obama, one of the most notorious Afghan warlords was positioning himself in the north of the country. Abdul Rashid Dostum, a current ally of Hamid Karzai, only recently returned from exile. He is a rival to the Governor of Mazar-e-Sharif, where the German Bundeswehr maintains a large base. An escalation is not to be excluded. The situation is being made more difficult through Washington's contemplations of downgrading the pact with Hamid Karzai and cooperating directly with individual warlords - a plan that accepts the possibility of the total disintegration of Afghanistan. In Berlin one hears more admissions of the defeat of the West. For example the Heinrich Boell Foundation, affiliated to the German Green Party, which up to now has had not problem in supporting the occupation policy, has declared that "with the warlords of the North Alliance, [the west] has installed a corrupt and undemocratic new leadership in the country." A disgruntled media is reporting that parallel to the withdrawal of the west, looming on the horizon, China is strengthening its standing in Afghanistan. more…