BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - A scientific agency of the German parliament considers the development of armed combat robots to be "absolutely essential." Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or so-called drones, should be given special consideration, not only to carry out reconnaissance of potential targets, but to also "instantly" engage them (Hunter Killer Missions), writes the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB). This is necessary, so that the Bundeswehr can participate in "larger conventional combat" within the framework of global "robust military missions," without endangering its own troops. "Military target" is defined very broadly. UAVs could therefore engage their weapons also against "interference" in the combat zone, explains the TAB. The TAB considers armed combat robots as "legal weapon platforms," indicating that soldiers would "not be at risk only to provide the best possible protection to the civilian population." But because the drones are partially under remote control from command posts in the belligerent countries, enemy combatants could take "counter measures" in those countries, warns the TAB. International law does not categorically prohibit "attacks in the hinterland of the opponent party in the conflict." more…

BERLIN/TEGUCIGALPA |

BERLIN/TEGUCIGALPA (Own report) - Once again a defender of Latin American putschists has been given an important position in the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. According to an announcement made by the ministry, the former representative of the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Honduras, Christian Lueth, will head the local implementation organizations (GIZ, DEG etc.). Lueth had not only euphemized the June 28, 2009 Honduran putsch as an "impeachment procedure," carried out "in complete constitutional conformity," he has defended the putschists against all criticism and, for example, organized German support for the Honduran police. Former cooperation partners of Honduras accuse the foundation - whose full name is "Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom" - of solely promoting the interests of the local oligarchy. The foundation, according to a statement by former scholarship holders, has "come under the influence of small, obscure, extreme right-wing groups and organizations in Latin America." more…

FRANKFURT/BERLIN |

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Own report) - A recently published book, by one of the most influential German newspaper publishers, is pleading for a transition toward "less democracy." The "voice of the people" and the "emancipatory Zeitgeist, putting everything into question," has a too "paralyzing influence" on current governance, writes the publishing house in its blurb for the book. The author therefore demands to "correct the system" for "more efficient policy making." These "corrections" must include the dismantlement of democratic participation. The book, recently published under the title "Dare Less Democracy" is being heavily promoted by public broadcasting stations, for example the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR), with close affiliation to the Social Democrats. Since some time, influential circles of the German elite have been demanding dismantlement of democracy in Germany. The recently published book will bring this debate into a broader public. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - In a semi-official German publication, high-ranking officials of the government administration, the Bundeswehr, academia and the media discuss means and methods for creating popular support for wars. According to these authors, images of „blood thirsty dictators" or „starving children" can work like "moral flywheels for military engagement." The TV footage of the 9/11 World Trade Center’s collapse also had the effect of "motivation pills" for the war against Afghanistan. The authors are clearly distinguishing between mass propaganda directed at "John Doe" and a "security debate" that must remain "the elite's domain": Particularly those "parliamentary factions, taking foreign and security policy seriously" must learn to "take decisions without consideration of public acceptance." more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Just before the "Nord Stream" natural gas pipeline (or "Baltic Pipeline") goes into operation, a rival "Nabucco" project to German-Russian hegemony over European gas supply is on the verge of collapse. The "Nabucco" project - while bypassing Russia - was to transport the enormous Central Asian and Middle Eastern natural gas deposits to Europe. This would prevent Russia from having renewed influence over the EU's gas supply. After Moscow's Gazprom energy corporation successfully won over a member of the rival Nabucco consortium, the German RWE Corp., for a German-Russian cooperation project, observers see the chances of Nabucco's construction dwindling. In any case, the project is endangered because supply from the regional natural gas producing countries is not sufficiently assured. Partisans of a closer German-Russian cooperation are already celebrating an "energy realignment toward Russia," even though some establishment sectors in Berlin and Brussels are continuing efforts toward realizing the Nabucco project. Time is tight. Last week, "Nord Stream" had a performance test and beginning in October should go into service, regularly delivering Russian natural gas directly to Germany. more…

THE HAGUE/BERLIN |

THE HAGUE/BERLIN (Own report) - Accompanied by protests, the International Court of Justice in The Hague will deliberate, this week, on Germany's plea for immunity against demands for reparations posed by victims of the Nazis. The supreme courts of Greece and Italy have ruled that, as the legal successor of the Nazi-Reich, Germany has to pay reparations in cases of grave Nazi war crimes. Previous attempts to have Germany accept a negotiated settlement have failed. With the present legal battle in The Hague, Berlin, pleading an alleged "state immunity," is now seeking to muzzle the victims. Nazi massacres of hundreds of civilians, which have already led to convictions of German war criminals in the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, are at the center of this legal debate in The Hague. These massacres were without consequences in the Federal Republic of Germany - the victims never received reparations, the criminals were never punished. The jurist Martin Klingner told foreign-policy.com that throughout this legal battle international courts have developed strange interpretations of the law. Klingner is representing the relatives of the victims before this court. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe is demanding clarification of the involvement of German authorities in crimes committed in the framework of the so-called "war on terror" and their cover-up. "Systematic violations of human rights" were committed, as the CIA abducted suspects and subsequently interrogated them under torture, Thomas Hammarberg recalls. Governments "across the European continent" were involved in these operations as well as in the attempts to keep them covered-up - notably also Berlin. It has recently become known that Libya had also participated in theses abduction operations. For decades, Tripoli has been a cooperation partner of German repressive authorities and has been called upon for interrogations of prisoners under torture. Some of these prisoners had cooperated with western secret services, including the BND, in the 1980s in Afghanistan fighting against the Soviet army. Today, the West is again using these former partners of the Afghanistan conflict, as ground troops in its war against Moammar al Gadhafi. Over the past decade, the West had handed these former partners over to the Libyan government to be tortured. more…

BERLIN/TIRASPOL/MOSCOW | | moldawienrussische-foederation

BERLIN/TIRASPOL/MOSCOW (Own report) - The German government has initiated a new test run for a German - Russian cooperation that bypasses the USA. The laboratory for this experiment is Transnistria, a southeast European secessionist region that broke off from Moldova in the early 1990s, during the collapse of the Soviet Union and claims independence, even though it has not been internationally recognized. Russian troops are still stationed in Transnistria, which, because of its pro-Moscow orientation, is considered a Russian outpost in southeast Europe. The German government has initiated a fundamental change of course in the Transnistrian conflict. To weaken Russia, it had previously taken Moldova's side in the secession conflict demanding the complete reintegration of Transnistria. Now it is beginning to adopt Transnistria's position as its own. Critics point out that this Transnistrian standpoint corresponds to that of the Russians and strengthens the Russian position in southeast Europe. Berlin and Moscow consider this a test run for a joint EU-Russian "security structure" - bypassing the USA. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - German government advisors and publicists are suggesting that the war on Libya can serve as a model for future western military interventions. According to their analyses, the war against Libya is following the example of what the West considers as its successful war against Yugoslavia, where NATO served as the air force of an almost entirely indigenous contingent of ground forces. Mistakes, like those in Afghanistan, where the West is engaged with its own ground troops, are thereby being avoided, according to an analysis published by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. In this way, money was saved at home and the lives of western soldiers were spared. The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) advises that in the case of Libya, however, the forces operating on the ground - the Transitional National Council and its militias - must be brought to a tactically clever exercise of their newly conquered power, to prevent that their putsch plunges the country into a long-term civil war à la Iraq,. This think tank makes concrete proposals for stabilizing the regime brought to power by the war. more…