DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - As reported by human rights organizations, Berlin, in spite of the intensification of violence in Syria, is refusing to suspend its agreement with Damascus, on the deportation of undesirable refugees. Whereas the current upheaval in Syria has cost dozens of lives, people are being held in deportation confinement, awaiting their transfer to that crisis area. Several of those deported from Germany to Syria in the past, including adolescents, were immediately arrested upon their arrival by the Syrian authorities. Since some time, Berlin has been working with the Syrian repressive agencies, at times even closely. One case of cooperation in torture is particularly known; that of the German-Syrian Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who was interrogated in November 2002 in Damascus - in a torture prison - by German police officers and secret service agents, following the upgrading of German-Syrian secret service cooperation, also to be applied against migrants. Cooperation in the domain of repression is continuing in spite of Syria's refusal of an exclusive western orientation, which has repeatedly made it the target of attacks from the west. more…

CAIRO/STUTTGART/ULM | | aegypten

CAIRO/STUTTGART/ULM (Own report) - Strong protests are being raised against the prohibition of the founding of an independent student union at the German University in Cairo. According to students at the university, for years, they have been seeking to establish a student union to intervene for better study conditions. The German University in Cairo is the first and, until now, largest German partner university abroad, with particular significance for Germany's foreign policy. The administration of this university has prohibited the creation of a student union to prevent a realm of activity for opponents of the Mubarak regime. This month, the administration even called in the military to put down student campus protests. At this university, seen as a German alternative to the long-standing American University in Cairo, the German government and German scholars have an enormous influence. According to the Stuttgart University, one of the two patron universities, it has "a model character" for German "scholarship export". Years ago, it awarded "honorary citizenship" to the wife of the former Egyptian president, for her contribution toward founding the German University in Cairo. Conditions at the German University show how the forces of the old regime are still seeking to hold their ground - with German acquiescence. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - In the run-up to decisions to be taken at the EU summit, to begin tomorrow in Brussels, Greek economic development shows the Euro crisis management in a miserable light. Athens, which, since last year, has been strictly applying the austerity programs being demanded mainly by Berlin, has been regularly confronted with popular protests. Journalists and employees of the local public transportation system in Athens went on strike just last week. The cuts in wages and public spending are driving the country ever deeper into the recession. Just taking the period from the first to the third quarter of 2010 - the period from the beginning of EU crisis intervention to its first effects - the rate of shrinkage of the Greek national economy increased from 0.7 to 5.7 percent. Simultaneously, unemployment increased significantly. There is a disastrous development of the national debt. Because of its enormous proportions - about 125 percent of the gross domestic product - Berlin and Brussels have imposed austerity measures. The crisis measures, modeled on Germany, are forcing up the national debt to nearly 150 percent of the gross domestic product. How this is supposed to stabilize Greece and the Euro is a mystery. more…

TRIPOLI/PARIS/BERLIN | | libyenfrankreich

TRIPOLI/PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - After several days of Libya being heavily bombarded, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending the German abstention in the UN Security Council vote on the current attacks. There is "always a division of labor in the international arena," is how Merkel explained the non-participation of the German Bundeswehr. There are also other countries that do not get involved in some UN interventions. But in fact, with this step, the German government has again refused to participate in a military operation being particularly sponsored by France, one in which Paris is hoping - and not without reason - to attain clear advantages in North Africa. In the stronghold of the, now militarily supported rebels, Benghazi, France is being cheered. Berlin, which in February was still signaling its willingness to undertake military steps, was making clear at the same time that it was placing its national interests above its solidarity with the alliance. The German government has "dared to go it alone for the first time since 1949" concluded a high-ranking German officer. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - The People's Republic of China is in the process of bypassing the United States of America to become Germany's most important non-European trade partner and is catching up to Germany's European trade partners, according to new statistics published by the German Asia-Pacific Business Association. Simultaneously China is continuing to increase its foreign investments, seeking to invest more heavily in European countries, particularly in Germany, therefore rapidly heightening Berlin's economic dependence on Beijing. German foreign policy is reacting with new efforts to achieve a balance to this growing economic dependence through obtaining stronger political influence in the Peoples Republic of China's domestic affairs. The most recent unsuccessful attempts, playing up the few dozen Chinese protest "strollers" to have them appear as mass rebellions ("Jasmine Revolution") similar to those taking place in Arab countries, are a signal to China's authorities, that offers a premonition of future political confrontations. more…

BERLIN/DUBAI/RIYADH | | iranvaeaegypten

BERLIN/DUBAI/RIYADH (Own report) - In spite of the ongoing protests in the Arab countries, German companies are continuing to furnish repressive technology to regimes of the region. At a fair in Dubai, oriented toward Middle Eastern and African police forces and secret services, several German companies have displayed their newest technology in internet surveillance. Products for localizing mobile telephones, as well as spying on computer hard disks were also being presented. German enterprises consider the export of so-called security technology to be a rather lucrative business. The German ministry of economics estimates the global security market to run at around 100 billion Euros per year - and rising. Since November 2010, the ministry has been supporting the German repression industry with a new "exports initiative in security technologies". Just last January, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics, Hans-Joachim Otto, visited the United Arab Emirates for talks on security plans. Some of the German export projects to Arab countries, including a proposal to deliver espionage software to the Egyptian domestic espionage service, have caused controversy. more…

HAMBURG |

HAMBURG (Own report) - One of the best-selling German news magazines is suggesting the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute so-called expulsion crimes carried out on Germans. According to the latest issue of the History Edition of the weekly magazine, Der Spiegel, this tribunal could be modeled on the Nuremberg Trials against the most important Nazi war criminals (Nuremberg II). The edition, which refers to precedence cases, is dedicated to the "Germans in the East". It flanks Berlin's Germandom cultural policy in Eastern Europe, aimed at creating zones of direct influence beyond Germany's borders with the help of the local German-speaking minorities. The "cultural heritage", for example, in what had formerly been East Prussia or Silesia, belongs not only to "those, who are still living there today," but also to the "millions of those, who today are living in Germany and elsewhere", writes the journal of the property claims in regions of Russia and Poland in the guise of cultural policy. The journal's representation is a publicly appealing exacerbation of existing German foreign policy efforts. more…