German officer to serve as U.S. Army Europe’s chief of staff

A German Army brigadier general who recently served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assuming duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position.

Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal, most recently the commander of Germany’s 12th Panzer Brigade in Amberg, and chief of staff of Regional Command North, International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, will be stationed at USAREUR headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany. He could report to duty as early as Monday. Continue reading

“Biting the Syrian Bullet”

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/MOSCOW (Own report) – The director of the Catholic relief organization, Caritas-Lebanon, has voiced strong criticism of the West’s policy on Syria. The West, together with its Middle Eastern allies, should finally stop equipping Syrian insurgents with military hardware, Paul Karam, Director of the Caritas-Lebanon declared. It must also stop the constant flow of citizens from European countries coming to join the Salafist terrorist militias in Syria – at the expense of the tormented civilian population. Dmitri Trenin, the foreign policy expert of the Moscow Carnegie Center, explains why the West continues to try to overthrow the Assad government, in spite of a growing demand to put an end to the reign of terror of the “Islamic State.” According to Trenin, in the course of the Syrian War, Russia succeeded in inflicting serious political setbacks on the West. The West, for its part, is doing its utmost in the Syrian War to crush Russia’s influence in the Middle East. In Germany, the call for western military intervention in Syria is again being voiced. Continue reading

Euro governments paying secret ransoms to al Qaeda

Al Qaeda has secretly collected at least $125 million in kidnapping ransoms from European governments looking to buy back hostages from Africa and the Middle East, a report claimed Tuesday.

The hefty cash payments date back to 2008, including $66 million in the past year alone, according to the New York Times. Continue reading

‘We are looking at the beginnings of a Holocaust’

The situation facing European Jewry is “simply intolerable, unacceptable and inexcusable,” Israeli Jewish Congress president Vladimir Sloutsker told MKs and foreign diplomats at a special session of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Monday.

Calling the rise in anti-Semitic incidents accompanying Israel’s invasion of Gaza an “SOS situation,” Sloutsker warned that if left unchecked, such behavior could lead to another European genocide.

“Never before since the Holocaust, have we seen such a situation as today,” he said, referring to the continent-wide demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists, a number of which have generated into violence and many of which have featured racist rhetoric.

“We are potentially looking at the beginning of another Holocaust now. These events [violent demonstrations and expressions of anti-Semitism] will only grow in scale across Europe,” he asserted. Continue reading

ISIS’s Black Flags Are Flying in Europe

The symbol of the murderous Islamic State is waving in The Hague. ‘Death to the Jews,’ shout the demonstrators. Yet the Dutch government authorized the protests.

“Death to the Jews” chanted the crowd waving the black flags of the Islamic State, or ISIS as it used to be known. They were looking for new supporters for their cause, the creation of a worldwide caliphate answering to the man who now calls himself Ibrahim: a zealot too radical even for Al Qaeda who has stormed through Syria and Iraq carrying out mass executions, crucifying rivals, beheading enemies. But these marchers were not in Syria or Iraq; they were in The Hague in The Netherlands. And their message was one tailored to the disaffected young descendants of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

“We are Moroccans,” went out the cry over a portable loudspeaker. “The French killed the Moroccans but they didn’t kill them all; the grandchildren of the few men left protest against the West, America and the Jews.”

Many of the demonstrators covered their faces with Palestinian scarves or balaclavas. “Anyone who doesn’t jump is a Jew,” someone shouted as the whole group started jumping in a scene that might have been ludicrous if it weren’t for the hateful message. “Death to the Jews!” the crowd shouted in Arabic. Continue reading

The Scramble for Africa

BERLIN(Own report) – German businesses are demanding that the government intensify its support for tapping the “continent of opportunity, Africa” in competition with China and other BRICS countries. Parallel to the West’s waning global influence, German businesses are loosing ground on the African continent. This is why German enterprises are pushing for increasing Hermes trade credit insurances, double taxation treaties, and generally “stronger political support for the German industry in Africa.” A building industry federation is explicitly demanding that future allocations of development funds be tied to orders for German/European firms. The German government has indicated its readiness to implement these policies. The KfW Development Bank and other public-sector banks are already seeking ways to support the German industry’s expansion efforts by expanding credit transactions. Continue reading

Netanyahu’s dilemma: Back Obama’s save Hamas policy, or fight for its downfall with Egypt and Saudis

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entangled himself Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27,  in the net he had cast to blur the effect of the unanimous decision by the security-political cabinet of Friday to turn down the ceasefire proposals proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The two diplomats and their partners, a brace of European ministers and Qatar and Turkey, who met in Paris to concoct a peace framework for Gaza, were privately dubbed by wags in Jerusalem the “Save Hamas Squad.”

Netanyahu tried to present the flat cabinet “no” to the ceasefire as a “no, maybe.”

His purpose was to leave an opening for the US and UN to ginger up their pro-Hamas framework for ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip by incorporating elements that Israel’s security needs half way. If that was done, Israel, he indicated, would be amenable to joining lengthy ceasefire accords with Hamas, or even making unilateral halts in violence. Continue reading

Germany to ‘spy on US and UK intelligence gathering’ for the first time in 45 years

Germany has ordered surveillance of British and American intelligence gathering on its soil to begin for the first time since 1945, according to reports.
Under the decision, US and British intelligence operations in Germany will be subject to the same counter-espionage measures as those of Russia, China and Iran.

“We need to send a strong signal,” a source close to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government told Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The unprecedented move is a direct response to a series of spy scandals that have rocked British and American relations with Germany in the past year.

Mrs Merkel’s government has given the go-ahead to surveillance plans that first emerged after two suspected double agents were found allegedly spying for the Americans inside the German security establishment a few weeks ago. Continue reading

NATO Poland base may be prepared for blitz against Russia

From the state-owned (FSB/KGB) propaganda outlet, Russia Today:

NATO’s Europe commander advocates stockpiling a base in Poland with enough weapons, ammunition and other supplies to support a rapid deployment of thousands of troops against Russia, British media reported.

General Philip Breedlove’s idea would be presented to members of the alliance at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales in September, according to The Times.

The general told a briefing in Naples this week that NATO needed “pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces.” Continue reading

Establish Facts

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – After a jetliner was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, influential German foreign policy experts have begun calling for a military intervention, which may include German Bundeswehr units. “A Blue Helmet mission under the umbrella of the United Nations” should now be taken into consideration, declared Andreas Schockenhoff, Co-Chair of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag. “Germany may also be asked” to contribute troops. For the Chairman of the Bundestag’s Defense Commission, Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), a Blue Helmet mission is also “conceivable.” It is yet unclear, who bears responsibility for downing the jetliner. This is not an essential question for him, as past experience with Western interventions have shown: The EU and the USA must politically establish the facts. The war against Yugoslavia was justified with a massacre. Substantial doubts about central aspects of this massacre still persist. The sniper killings on Kiev’s Maidan Square on February 20 have never been elucidated, once they served as legitimation for overthrowing the government of President Yanukovych. Suspicions persist that sectors of today’s governing Maidan opposition may have played decisive roles in these murders; however that is of no interest to the West. On the contrary, there have never been political consequences for a US warship’s downing of an Iranian airliner in 1988. Continue reading

It’s like 1938, says Israeli ambassador to Germany: Outbreaks of anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe

  • Yakov Hadas-Handelsman has expressed fears over attacks on Jews
  • Germany: pro-Palestinians are chanting race-hate slogans against them
  • Recent Israeli military action in Gaza has killed hundreds of Palestinians

Jewish people are being attacked and abused on the streets of Germany as though the country were back in the Nazi era, political and religious leaders warned yesterday.

Murderous slogans dating back to the days of Hitler have been chanted at pro-Palestinian rallies in Germany. Jewish-owned shops were attacked and burned in riots in France at the weekend.

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said: ‘They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938.’ Continue reading

Russia starts reinforcing naval fleet in Crimea

Sevastopol (AFP) – Russia announced Wednesday that it had begun expanding and modernising its Black Sea fleet based in Crimea with new ships and submarines, just months after annexing the peninsula from Ukraine.

“Today we have started forming a powerful Black Sea fleet with an absolutely different level of air service, coastal missile and artillery troops and marines,” said Alexander Vitko, the Black Sea fleet commander, in a message to servicemen. Continue reading

Europe braced for any gas crisis as Russia sanctions escalate

The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.

The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.

This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.

“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading

The Alliance of the Threatened

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – The EU and USA have expanded their sanctions against Russia and – in addition to individuals – have now also placed important Russian companies on their lists. Washington has restricted dealings, for example, with Rosneft and the Gazprombank. Brussels has announced the possibility of preventing EU companies from doing business with Russian companies and is planning to list them by the end of July. German business circles are protesting. They have already suffered billions in losses. Experts are warning that, with its sanctions against Russia, the West may experience, in the economic arena, an overreach similar to that experienced by the US in the military arena with its war on Iraq. With the power of the West obviously waning, it has already become noticeable that even close allies are defecting. Observers explain this with the Crimea conflict: NATO countries had been unable to retain the Crimea within the reign of its allied Ukrainian government; therefore it seems that an alliance with NATO countries would no longer be a reliable assurance against ones enemies. Defections can be noticed in Asia and Latin America, not least of all because of the recent founding of the BRICS development bank, rivaling the US-dominated World Bank. Russia and China are among the founders of this bank. Continue reading

BRICS shake up global economic architecture

By creating their own multilateral financial institutions, the BRICS emerging-market powers are shaking up global economic governance but remain far from dismantling the post-war system dominated by the West.

For the past 70 years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world’s economic system, coming to the rescue of countries in trouble and supporting development projects, respectively.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, continues to have just slightly more voting power in the IMF than Italy, about five times smaller.

And, since their creation in 1944, the IMF and the World Bank have only been led by Americans and Europeans. Continue reading