BERLIN/MUNICH |

BERLIN/MUNICH (Own report) - A study on the history of the German League of Expellees (Bund der Vertriebenen - BdV) financed by the German government is relativizing the Nazi-activities of former "expellee" functionaries, according to the conservative German daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The newspaper writes that some of the arguments used in this study, examining the Nazi-past of high level representatives of organizations of the relocated, could "put Heinrich Himmler's basic national socialist conviction into question." The study was made by the Institute of Contemporary History (Institut für Zeitgeschichte - IfZ) and is being kept under lock and key. The institute is relativizing the study's importance and has declared that it is merely a "feasibility study". The study's author is in contact with "Germandom"-organizations in countries to the east of Germany. The historian Manfred Kittel had procured the assignment to prepare the study, writes the FAZ. Manfred Kittel is director of the "Foundation Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation," which is organizing a permanent exhibition in Berlin on the theme of "flight and expulsion". His scientific work came under heavy criticism already in the 1990s. more…

BONN/BERLIN |

BONN/BERLIN (Own report) - A long-time Friedrich Naumann Foundation employee, a proponent of the Honduran putschists is the newly appointed director of a department in the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Previously, in his function as the "director of the Regional Office for Latin America" he had established the Naumann network in Honduras. Last summer he came to the defense of the putschist regime against protests. His appointment as department director is an aspect of the restructuring process taking place in the BMZ, aimed at linking the ministry more tightly to Germany's economic and military expansion. The restructuring was initiated by the new Minister, Dirk Niebel (FDP). Just last week, the appointment of a Bundeswehr colonel as department director (also for Afghanistan) had provoked strong protests from civilian aid organizations. A third new department director is considered a specialist for promoting small and medium-sized enterprises, which, to a growing degree, are seeking to expand abroad - also with the support of the ministry of development. more…

PRISTINA/BERLIN | | jugoslawien

PRISTINA/BERLIN (Own report) - Serious social upheavals are threatening to erupt in Kosovo on the second anniversary of its secession, accomplished with strong German impulsion. Since its breaking away from Serbia, the economic situation of the region has become desolate, with an increase in bitter poverty, protests and strikes. Outside the EU there is talk of "a failed state." Whereas Germany, along with the other leading western powers, is continuing to pressure Serbia into recognizing the illegal secession, politicians in Kosovo are threatening to annex more Serbian territory. Bombing attacks, apparently politically motivated, were reported in the areas in question. The situation of minorities remains catastrophic. For example, the Roma in Kosovo are massively discriminated against, hundreds are languishing in lead contaminated camps. Berlin's plans to deport Roma seeking refuge in Germany back into this persecution, are meeting growing protest. The German Bundeswehr is alone in having discerned a positive development. A member of the Bundeswehr has declared that NATO's occupation of the region is a "success story," and calls on the population to recognize "the successful work of the soldiers." more…

BERLIN/PRETORIA | | suedafrika

BERLIN/PRETORIA (Own report) - The German Navy and Air Force have been carrying out since Monday their largest non-NATO maneuver of the year in South Africa. This maneuver, entitled "Good Hope IV" taking place close to Cape Town, is the fourth of its kind to be held together with the navy and air force of South Africa. The objective is to enable the two countries to coordinate military operations and will, this year, also include firing guided missiles, including air-to-ground missiles, such as those used by Germany in the aggression on Yugoslavia. South Africa seeks to be recognized as the stabilizing power for Africa. Berlin seeks to exploit this ambition and with Pretoria's help acquire new possibilities of control in Africa south of the Sahara. Their joint activities are benefiting not only from the generally close relationship between the two countries, but also from the fact that South Africa disposes of a large quantity of German-produced war material. In the current maneuver that simulates joint interventions in Africa, the navies of both nations will be operating warships produced in German dockyards. The maneuver is due to last until March 15. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German ministry of development plans to extend its activities to develop foreign markets for German businesses, according to a competent state secretary. The covert subsidy policy, which, over the past few years, has provided sums in the billions, is operating under the name "Public Private Partnership" (PPP). It is explicitly aimed at opening "growth markets" that have been neglected by the private sector, because of profit perspectives being dim without state subventions. The attention has been particularly focused on impoverished populations in the countries of the southern hemisphere because of the global financial and economic crisis. Because of their high percentage of the world's population and in spite of their low income, they are being considered as potential consumers of metropolitan goods and services, such as so-called "micro-insurances" against the sequels of natural catastrophes. The German Allianz Insurance Co. can expect considerable profits from these cheap "micro-insurances" that are subsidized by the ministry of development, because of the large number of insured. more…

PORT-AU-PRINCE/BERLIN | | haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is elaborating concepts for major western powers to take long-term control over Haiti. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) writes in a recent strategy paper, that the great powers are obviously pursuing the objective "of developing Haiti in accordance to their own priorities," but "the appropriate form" must "still be found". The SWP is examining four different versions, ranging from the establishment of a „development agency" in Haiti, to placing Haiti under UN control, a model, resembling the former Kosovo occupation administration. This model is generally being discussed "in cases of failing states", according to SWP. With the deployment of its Gendarmerie Force, the EU is emphasizing its claim on participating in having control over Haiti. The activities of European police and military units - including the deployment of German repressive forces - are therefore expanding in the Caribbean and in Latin American costal regions. These measures assure European presence in the US backyard, particularly in the close vicinity of recalcitrant countries like Venezuela and Cuba. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - The European Union has submitted to German demands, imposing unprecedented cuts in the Greek national budget, resulting in a large loss of jobs, cuts in wages and high increases in taxes. This was caused by Berlin's apprehension that Greece's budget deficit could lead to a serious crisis and burden the Euro. Business circles are even speculating about an end to the European monetary union. The Greek government must now report to Brussels every two - three months and show evidence it has made drastic cuts in its state expenditures. Berlin rejects financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it often imposes on non-European countries. This aid would be linked to conditions on the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. The demand that Athens take drastic austerity measures does not stop Berlin from pressuring Greece to buy expensive warplanes. In Athens, the German foreign minister insisted, at the beginning of the week, that they acquire Eurofighter jets (made in Halbergmoos, Germany). Berlin's austerity dictate is very controversial. A Nobel Prize laureate in economics accuses the German government of "deficit fetishism" and predicts that the measures will peter out with no effect. more…

PARIS/BERLIN | | frankreich

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - The German-French Council of Ministers meeting next Thursday is marked by persisting tensions between the two countries. The differences between the French and German governments include central questions of the economy and foreign expansion. Paris has been seeing itself at a disadvantage and, for quite awhile, has been insisting on high-level consultations to determine how to handle the procedure at EU level. Also at issue is the rapid rise of the People's Republic of China, which in French business circles has led to warnings of Europe's "downgrading". It will only be possible to meet this challenge with the support of a strong EU, explained the French Minister for European Affairs. France must quickly put "the European machine" to use "to protect its interests." Because Germany has the same intentions, but other priorities, no accord has been reached between the two governments - to the disadvantage of the weaker, in this case, France. more…