Archive for Mai 3rd, 2017

3. Mai 2017

teleSUR’s exclusive interview with Bashar al-Assad

3. Mai 2017

Why North Korea became a fortress state

3. Mai 2017

Curiouser and Curiouser – Berlin Bulletin No. 128, May 3, 2017 – Victor Grossman, Berlin

A story worthy of a mystery author – or dramatist – has been hitting German headlines. It began when police at the Vienna airport in Austria arrested a first lieutenant of the German Bundeswehr army when he picked up a pistol hidden some weeks earlier in a bathroom. He denied it was his and was released. But his fingerprints somehow matched those of a refugee who had applied for German asylum two years earlier.
Like Alice in Wonderland when she got bigger and bigger, the story turned “curiouser and curiouser” and here too, odd language was important. This young blond German officer, 28, had been registered in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria as a refugee from Damascus in Syria. He had said he was Catholic but the men of ISIS had persecuted him and killed some of his family because of his partially Jewish background and Jewish name – “David Benjamin”.  Strangely enough, he spoke little or no Arabic and was questioned in French – with a German accent. No-one had ever been suspicious, or so it was claimed. He then seems to have commuted between his job as officer in a mixed French-German unit in French Alsace and his false existence as a Syrian refugee in Germany.
He remains mum, but it seems he was planning to commit some crime which would then be blamed on Syrian immigrants, in line with a current media wave against “criminal foreigners”. Two things are known: his accomplice, a 24-year-old German student now also under arrest, stored munition for the lieutenant. And a “death list” found in his quarters includes the name of a young woman delegate of the LINKE in the Berlin Assembly who is known for her defense of immigrants.
As with Alice, the story took on ever greater proportions. How could the Bundeswehr, including the military snooping department (with the acronym MAD) somehow miss out on such strange goings-on? It now seems that they did indeed  know; the French military college where he had taken courses advised the German military authorities two years ago that his final thesis was racist and pro-fascist. Somehow this did not overly disturb anyone.
It does now! Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who has been leaning out the political window to attract rightist votes away from the even-further-rightist party AfD (Alternative for Germany), stated vigorously – to cover his past negligence, or worse: “Our investigation of this incident will leave no stone unturned”!
Probably damaged far more was Ursula von der Leyen, the ambitious Defense Minister, hitherto preoccupied with building up an aggressively-oriented Bundeswehr with the latest, most “effective” rifles, tanks, drones and other shiny utensils, ready to embark within days or hours to the furthest corners of the globe. Now, suddenly, she was on the defensive – or not quite so suddenly, since more and more reports have surfaced in recent months of brutal customs in the armed forces, especially the hazing of recruits and other underlings often involving sexual abuse. In her usual clipped, efficacious manner she took the unprecedented step of admitting weaknesses in processing and leaning doors open to “extremists” who are not supposed to be in the Bundeswehr – but always have been, sometimes at the top. Her words were really aimed at absolving herself and blaming subordinates, although she has been responsible top boss for three years. Her words quickly led military men, hitherto her closest buddies, to yelp like whipped dogs, thus weakening her usual position of coolly smiling superiority. Just such wrinkles could hurt what some have speculated were her hopes of succeeding, or even replacing, Angela Merkel.    
How many knew of the officer’s double existence – and perhaps of his plot? How many have similar views? The story echoes the case of the National Socialist Underground group which murdered nine Greek or Turkish immigrants and one German policewoman and set off a disastrous bomb in a largely Turkish neighborhood. The trial of Beate Zschäpe, a surviving member of the group, is now in its 5th year in Munich while Bundestag investigations drag on – and there are more and more suspicious connections between the murders and official authorities who have somehow been shredding key documents incriminating secret service agents and politicians at high levels, and now, strangely enough, even the American FBI!   
There is no lack of dirt flying around, much of it related to elections. On Sunday, May 7th, the same day as in France, there will be much tamer voting in northern Schleswig-Holstein, where the Social Democrats are strong. One open question is whether the LINKE (Left) will get back into the state parliament. Five years ago they were down to 2.2% and weren’t, but current polling has them teetering on the hurdle of 5% where a single vote can make the difference. Any and every win in a West German state is, for them, a pleasant surprise.
Another election is due a week later in Germany’s most heavily populated North-Rhine/Westphalia (with Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen and Bonn).  Can the Social Democrats and Greens, governing as a coalition since 2010, reach a majority again? The chances look skimpy. They might manage if they bring in the LINKE, whose polls are at a wobbly 6 %, but would they accept it as a partner or prefer a taboo even if it means losing their own chances to stay in office? And would the LINKE consent even if invited to join?
The same question may recur in September after the all-German vote. The sudden surge for the Social Democrats after cheerful Martin Schulz took the reins has slipped considerably, while Markel’s Christian Democrats, after dimming, has recuperated and is well ahead again. But with four smaller parties all balancing at about 8%, attaining a 50% coalition majority is tougher than ever. Except for the present solution, with two big boys, CDU and SPD, ruling together though neither is happy about it, it’s hard to find any way to squeeze “three men in a tub” with four smaller parties getting in each other’s way. The Greens are slipping downward fast. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is also slithering downhill, luckily,  after infighting led to pushing out of the top job its very attractive, a tiny bit more moderate leader and very pregnant Frauke Petry, a main force in building the party. It is possible that her shape had a negative effect on the chauvinist, racist, ultra-reactionary delegates, but who then surprisingly replaced Petry as candidate with Alice Weidel, 38, a partner in a same-sex, parental partnership, and also a far-right business consultant who once worked with Goldman-Sachs. Her co-candidate, Prof. Alexander Gauland, 76, is just as far right as she is. As the oldest delegate in the new Bundestag he will probably get to make the opening speech. (A side-note: before departing the GDR as a youngster he attended the Friedrich Engels High School in Karl-Marx-Stadt. They left little mark!)
As for the LINKE, some leaders yearn to join in an SPD, Green, LINKE coalition, which might become numerically possible. Others in the party say that any compromise on withdrawing German troops from current threatening bases in Lithuania, near the Russian border, and anywhere else in the world, would mean abandoning the basic principles of the party. But just such a program change would be a condition for their admission to a coalition. For those who have a constant fear of provocations or even war with Russia by such NATO forces, or maybe kicked off by something like the Maidan Square events in Kiev, this is the most vital question in the world. They hope that Merkel’s meeting with Putin will lead to de-escalation!
The months ahead – in France, Britain, Germany and the USA – could be crucial ones, for the European Union – minus Britain – and very possibly for the world. Unlike with Alice, “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” does not apply here. We are not in Wonderland!
3. Mai 2017

Readouts of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation – Washington / Moscow

Washington DC:

President Donald J. Trump of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation spoke today regarding Syria. President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence. The conversation was a very good one, and included the discussion of safe, or de-escalation, zones to achieve lasting peace for humanitarian and many other reasons. The United States will be sending a representative to the cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 3-4. They also discussed at length working together to eradicate terrorism throughout the Middle East. Finally, they spoke about how best to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.



A wide range of current issues regarding the two countries’ cooperation in the international arena was discussed, with an emphasis on future coordination of Russian and US actions to fight international terrorism in the context of the Syrian crisis.

It was agreed to bolster the dialogue between the heads of the two nations’ foreign policy agencies in an effort to find ways to stabilise the ceasefire and make it durable and manageable.

The aim is to create preconditions for launching a real settlement process in Syria. To that end, the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State shall promptly brief the countries’ leaders on any progress achieved.

The dangerous situation on the Korean Peninsula was thoroughly discussed. The President of Russia called for restraint and an easing of tensions. It was agreed to organise joint work aimed at achieving diplomatic solutions and a comprehensive settlement of the problem.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump agreed to continue their telephone contacts and spoke in favour of arranging a personal meeting during the G20 Summit in Hamburg on July 7–8.

The conversation was businesslike and constructive.

3. Mai 2017

Der russische Staatschef Wladimir Putin bei der Pressekonferenz mit Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel am in Sotschi zur Lage im Donbass und in Syrien

Zur Lage im Donbass:

Die Ereignisse im Südosten der Ukraine sind „erstens eine Folge des Staatstreichs, des verfassungswidrigen Machtwechsels in der Ukraine. Zweitens hat niemand diese Territorien (von der Ukraine) abgetrennt, sie werden von der ukrainischen Regierung durch allmögliche Blockaden abgetrennt“.

Russland liefere bisher viele Waren für die ukrainische Industrie, darunter auch für Energiebetriebe. Niemand habe die Betriebe im Donbass beschlagnahmt.

„Aber da diese Betriebe, die sich auf dem Territorium nicht anerkannten Republiken befinden, keine Möglichkeit haben, ich möchte dies unterstreichen, Rohstoffe aus der Ukraine zu bekommen und die Waren auf das ukrainische Territorium zu verladen, blieb den Leuten nichts anderes übrig, als eine vorübergehende Zwangsverwaltung einzuführen“,

Zur Lage in Syrien:

Putin sprach sich für eine Stärkung der Waffenruhe zwischen den Regierungstruppen und den gemäßigten Rebellen in Syrien aus.  Sowohl die deutsche Kanzlerin als auch er selbst seien davon überzeugt, dass die Syrien-Frage nur friedlich gelöst werden könne.

„Der Waffenstillstand muss gestärkt werden“. Daran werde am Mittwoch und Donnerstag bei den Syrien-Gesprächen in Astana gearbeitet werden. „Ohne die USA kann dieses Problem nicht effektiv gelöst werden. Deshalb waren und sind wir auch weiterhin mit unseren amerikanischen Partnern im Kontakt.“

3. Mai 2017

Snowden Directer Oliver Stone On His New Film About Vladimir Putin

„Mr. Putin is one of the most important leaders in the world and in so far as the United States has declared him an enemy – a great enemy – I think it’s very important we hear what he has to say,“ the film director said, noting that he has met with the Russian president several times.

„I talked to him originally about the (former National Security Agency contractor Edward) Snowden affair, which is in the film. And out of that grew, I think, a trust that he knew that I would not edit it so much,“ he said.

3. Mai 2017

In der Bundeswehr ist nach Angaben des Verteidigungsministeriums ein extrem rechtes Netzwerk aktiv – German Foreign Policy

In der Bundeswehr ist nach Angaben des Verteidigungsministeriums ein extrem rechtes Netzwerk aktiv. Dies wird unter Berufung auf Unterlagen des Ministeriums berichtet. Demnach hätte Oberleutnant Franco A., der vergangene Woche unter Terrorverdacht festgenommen wurde, mehrere Mittäter. A. soll Mordattentate auf eine Bundestagsabgeordnete der Linkspartei, auf eine antirassistische Organisation sowie womöglich auch auf Ex-Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck und auf Bundesjustizminister Heiko Maas erwogen haben. Eine der zentralen Fragen im Fall Franco A. ist nach wie vor, wieso der Mann nach der Erstellung einer Masterarbeit, die laut Experten an NS-Propaganda erinnerte, von den zuständigen Stellen der Bundeswehr von jedem „Zweifel an der erforderlichen Einstellung zur Werteordnung“ freigesprochen wurde. Die Frage stellt sich umso dringlicher, als rechtsgerichtete Kräfte in den Streitkräften aktiv sind – auch an einflussreicher Stelle, etwa an der Münchner Universität der Bundeswehr. In „Denkzirkeln“ junger Offiziere und Offiziersanwärter wird beispielsweise eine „umfassende mentale Revolution“ gefordert, die eine „Reinigung des Offiziersstandes“ von „falsch verstandene(r) Toleranz und liberale(n) Auffassunge(n)“ bewirken soll.


3. Mai 2017

Zerstörung Syriens für westliches Interesse an Öl und Gas – Deutsche Politik dabei – Völkerrechtler Norman Paech

Verhandlungen aller Beteiligten ohne Vorbedingungen – das ist notwendig, um den Krieg in Syrien zu beenden, so der Völkerrechtler Norman Paech. Er kritisiert die westliche Politik, die lange vor 2011 begonnen habe, auf einen Umsturz in Damaskus hinzuarbeiten. Das Land darf nicht geteilt werden, sagt er und fordert, das Völkerrecht einzuhalten.


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