ABIDJAN/PARIS/BERLIN | | cote-d-ivoire

ABIDJAN/PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - Following the putsch in the Ivory Coast, the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation has announced its opening of a new branch office in Abidjan and wants to serve the new ruling RPR party, as a "permanent advisor." The foundation announced that it would establish closer relations with the new president, Alassane Ouattara and his party. The RPR has been active for years, in the FDP's liberal West African network, which includes an advisor to the president of Senegal. The fact that the Naumann Foundation's partner, Ouattara, was bombed into power last April, by France and the United Nations - and with Berlin's explicit approval - in spite of the presumed electoral fraud, has met with continuing strong protests in Africa. The media is openly speaking of "imperialism" and "neo-colonialism". For example, South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki considers that not only the African Union has lost all credibility through the military intervention in the Ivory Coast. After its armed attack on the presidential palace in Abidjan, the United Nations, as well, can no longer claim to be a "neutral force" of mediation in conflicts. The events in the Ivory Coast have put an end to "the fiction that the major powers respect the rule of law in the conduct of international relations." more…

BEIJING/BERLIN | | china

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is forging ahead with its contradictory policy toward China in the German-Chinese consultations that end today. The economic boom is persisting without interruption in the People's Republic of China. Economists are unanimous in their prediction that China will emerge to become the world's strongest economic power. German companies are preparing themselves for this eventuality and enhancing their presence in China, to be in a position to do business with the hub of global economy. While the focus of current consultations revolves around the intensification of business relations, strategists are warning that Beijing is also politically profiting from its economic boom. For example, the Chinese Prime Minister announced on the weekend that China would soon buy Hungarian state bonds and help Budapest with billions in investments out of the crisis. The People's Republic would therefore become a factor of power in a country, where, until now, Germany had wielded hegemonic influence. As a reaction to China's rise in influence, the establishment in Berlin is also seeking to weaken Beijing, through image campaigns ("human rights"), while sparing Germany's allies. At the same time, the boulevard press has launched a campaign against the People's Republic, using the classical pattern of the danger of a "Chinese invasion" and the traditional racist animosity of a "yellow peril." more…

BERLIN/BONN/ESCHBORN/NUREMBERG |

BERLIN/BONN/ESCHBORN/NUREMBERG (Own report) - Berlin has forged ahead with integrating the so-called development aid into military combat operations by way of an official cooperation agreement between the German Bundeswehr and the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). The terms of this agreement include provisions for joint training and the exchange of intelligence information concerning the respective "country of operations," with the declared objective of enhancing the "perspectives of success" of these "missions." The concluded cooperation agreement resembles, nearly word for word, an agreement between the German Armed Forces and the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). In accordance with the "networked Security" paradigm, this agreement is supposed to reinforce "civilian-military cooperation" - for example in Afghanistan. Already for several years, German "development aid" implementation organizations have been acknowledging their close collaboration with the Bundeswehr, generally considered as their "partner in uniform." A member of the GIZ board of directors will therefore participate this weekend, in a "conference on security affairs" hosted in Nuremberg by leading military policy think tanks. more…

BERLIN/PARIS/ATHENS | | frankreich

BERLIN/PARIS/ATHENS (Own report) - Once again the EU is bowing to a German-French dictate by enacting the participation of private creditors to finance the Euro debt crisis. An agreement to this effect, reached last weekend between the German chancellor and the French president, was passed yesterday by the EU's finance ministers. Financial companies are to be called upon to make huge payments - but contrary to German demands - only on a voluntary basis. Berlin could have made the popular demand that banks provide the financing, because German credit and insurance institutions have begun to sell off a large portion of their Greek bonds, while their French rivals are still in a vulnerable position. Some members of the ruling parties' parliamentary groups are still calling for credit institutions to play the largest possible role in solving the crisis. In the meantime, German CEOs of export companies owing a large portion of their profits to trade within the Euro zone, and therefore benefiting from the Euro, are placing large-format ads in journals pleading to maintain the Euro. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is still refusing reparations to Soviet prisoners of war, seventy years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. This refusal is in spite of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers were held in camps similar to concentration camps and were forced to do slave labor for German agricultural and industrial enterprises under deadly conditions. Even though the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future," founded by Berlin in 2000, envisaged reparations for surviving slave laborers, Red Army prisoners of war as well as "Italian military detainees" were excluded from the defined scope of application of this foundations act. German courts have always dismissed lawsuits of reparation claims brought by surviving Soviet POWs - with the argument that "slave labor was permitted under international law." more…

BERLIN/MINSK | | belarus

BERLIN/MINSK (Own report) - 70 years after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the German Federal government is still denying the existence of concentration camps run by the Wehrmacht. Over the past four years, alone, the Republic of Belarus has "repeatedly" asked Berlin to recognize the Ozarichi death camp that had been established by the Nazi army as a concentration camp. The German side has regularly rejected this request by referring to ambiguous "judicial obstacles." The Wehrmacht established the Ozarichi Concentration Camp on marshlands in March 1944, where relatives of slave laborers, who had been deported to Germany, were held captive in the open without shelter. The prisoners, most of whom were elderly, sick or children, were considered "unfit to work" and therefore deliberately exposed to death by starvation and cold. Under these circumstances, more than 9,000 people died in just one week. The German army command considered this a success: "We don't need to supply food to useless mouths," declared the Wehrmacht command responsible for the death camp. German historians have called this "one of the worst crimes the Wehrmacht ever committed against civilians." However, the survivors of the Ozarichi concentration camp have never received reparations for their suffering. more…

ATHENS/LJUBLJANA/BERLIN | | sloweniengriechenland

ATHENS/LJUBLJANA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German austerity dictate is meeting growing resistance within the EU. Following the mass protests in Spain and the most recent hundreds of thousands demonstrating in Greece, further activities have been announced, which are explicitly aimed at the so-called EU Growth and Stability Pact. A new development can be observed particularly in Greece. The Greek crisis is the result of a structural imbalance in the Eurozone, which has degraded Greece to a sales market for German products. Therefore Berlin is, to a growing extent, becoming the focus of the protests. According to the German-Greek Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the popular opinion that "the Germans are living at the expense of the Greeks" is widespread. Structurally, Portugal and other countries are suffering from the same problem as Greece. According to German media, there is a danger that Berlin's new public austerity demands could foment "anti-German sentiments from Greece to Portugal." Just recently, a Spanish political advisor warned that if Berlin continues with its dictates, the EU will soon have a reputation similar to that of the IMF, to be an instrument for imposing compulsory economic measures. more…

BERLIN/KARLSRUHE |

BERLIN/KARLSRUHE (Own report) - In a study on Nazi Germany's aggression on the Soviet Union seventy years ago, the historian, Wigbert Benz is strongly criticizing the German historian profession. He writes that there are "some still advocating the thesis of the preventive war." They explain, "when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union June 22, 1941, he was merely preempting a Soviet attack." "A reciprocal radicalization process taking place between the Red Army and the German Wehrmacht" allegedly caused the German war of annihilation against the inhabitants of the Soviet Union. Numerous pieces of evidence in German historical publications substantiate the validity of Benz's thesis. Just recently, the thesis of reciprocal "escalation" of the warfare in the USSR was again advocated by renowned German historical scholars, who allege that the Nazi Wehrmacht's "extreme exactions on neutral civilians" was due to the "disorientation" of German soldiers in their struggle against Soviet partisans. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - A working group of the SPD-affiliated Friedrich-Ebert Foundation is demanding the Federal Security Council be upgraded to become a sort of National Security Council and that the whole of society be subordinated to the primacy of "security policy." The social democrat foundation's Working Group on International Security Policy writes in a recent paper that an approach, differentiating between "domestic" and "foreign" security can no longer adequately meet the requirements of the new global threat situation. The traditional division of labor defined along territorial lines - with the police being responsible for domestic and the military for foreign operations - must be replaced with "functional" assignments. All "portfolios," including economic and development policy, should be aligned on "security policy." The segments of civil society not yet under state control, particularly the NGOs, should also serve "security policy." In addition, a European Army jeopardizing "the USA's claim to leadership should be finally established." The working group responsible for this paper includes parliamentarians in the Bundestag and functionaries in government ministries. more…