Merkel pledges military support to Baltic states

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – former Soviet republics with their own Russian-speaking minorities – are increasingly anxious that the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea could herald destabilisation in their own region by Moscow.

The Baltic states have asked for an increased NATO presence to reinforce Article 5 of the alliance’s constitution, which states that an attack on one of its members is an act of aggression against all, obliging them to react.

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Die Nato soll Stärke zeigen (NATO should show strength)

For translation purposes, as the original article is in German, the entire article translated will remain here. Take note that it’s also ‘broken’ English.

Für die Leute, die auf Deutsch lesen können oder Lust haben, die Quelle liegt ganz unten.

 

NATO prepares to quarrel with Russia before the next stage of escalation. In Riga German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced yesterday a stronger military presence in Eastern Europe, and the Bundeswehr. NATO must prepare for the defense, “much more than we had in the past,” Merkel added. The Alliance wants in case of conflict can react more quickly than before. This strategy will decide on its summit in September in Cardiff, Merkel representation NATO.

The Baltic States could rely on Article 5 of the NATO Treaty – the defense commitment – not only theoretically applies. In plain English: For Ukraine, the Alliance would not go to war, for the small NATO partners but already Latvia. Continue reading

Tensions soar as Ukraine says destroys Russian armour

Kiev (AFP) – Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that crossed onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.

NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a “considerable part” of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement. Continue reading

France rebels against austerity as Europe’s recovery collapses

France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets

Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.

Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.

Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.

It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.

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Germany wants foreign embassies to declare their spy employees

They want names to be able to either eliminate or minimize compromises to their own operations at home.

The Fourth Reich is regaining its grip not only on itself, but the entire European front. Soon enough, NATO will get the boot and you will see a European Army forming.

Sound laughable? Two years ago here it was mentioned Germany would rise again. Look where we are now: In the rise process. A few more people see it than the previous years while the majority are still blind to what’s directly under their noses.

Europe has been anchored to Germany once again, and not the other way around. If they will boldly fly military helicopters over US embassy consulates in Germany, they will indeed take whatever else they can. History does indeed repeat itself.

 

German authorities have asked that foreign embassies and consulates on German soil officially disclose the names of their personnel involved in intelligence work.

German newsmagazine Der Spiegel said that the German Foreign Office has been systematically contacting consular authorities from every foreign nation located in Germany. In each case, the foreign consular representatives have been issued formal requests to release “through official diplomatic channels” an exhaustive list of names of their intelligence operatives operating in Germany under diplomatic cover. Continue reading

Crisis stalks Europe again as deflation deepens, Germany stalls

Data from Germany, Italy and Portugal put pressure on ECB to act

Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.

The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. Continue reading

Germany Is Building a European Army Before Your Eyes

The Dutch army is made up of three brigades, plus support staff and Special Forces. On June 12, one of those brigades, the 11th Airmobile, officially joined the German army.

This was the first time ever that European country has handed part of its army over to another country. “Never before has a state renounced this elementary and integral part of its sovereignty,” wrote Die Welt’s political editor Thorsten Jungholt.

Now, Germany is making it clear that this was not an isolated event. Instead, it is a pattern Germany intends to follow as it absorbs more units from foreign militaries. “Germany is driving the European Army Project” was the title of Jungholt’s Die Welt article. Continue reading

Radical action needed as euro zone remains on amber alert

To get economy moving again, policymakers should go ahead with quantitative easing to boost liquidity and allow the euro to weaken

The euro zone’s “softly, softly” approach to the financial crisis is not working. The economy is sinking into deflation, dragged down by a zombie banking system and spiralling government debt. It is slipping back towards recession. A future break-up of the euro zone remains a potent threat.

Policymakers can ill afford to keep kicking the can down the road. The bailout earlier this month of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo was a sharp reminder to investors the euro zone was not out of the woods by a long stretch. Continue reading

Spy agencies hit in cyber espionage campaign: Kaspersky Lab

The hackers, according to Kaspersky, were likely backed by a nation state and used techniques and tools similar to ones employed in two other high-profile cyber espionage operations that Western intelligence sources have linked to the Russian government.

Kaspersky, a Moscow-based security software maker that also sells cyber intelligence reports, declined to say if it believed Russia was behind the espionage campaign.

Dubbed “Epic Turla,” the operation stole vast quantities of data, including word processing documents, spreadsheets and emails, Kaspersky said, adding that the malware searched for documents with terms such as “NATO,” “EU energy dialogue” and “Budapest.” Continue reading

Italy just fell back into recession for the third time since 2008

ROME — Italy slipped into recession for the third time since 2008 in the second quarter, underlining the chronic weakness of the eurozone’s third-largest economy and pressuring the government to complete promised reforms.

Figures on Wednesday from statistics agency ISTAT showed gross domestic product unexpectedly declined by 0.2% in April-June from the previous three months. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast growth of 0.2%.

The economy also shrank by 0.1% in January-March, meaning it has returned to recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Italian stocks fell after the data and the risk premium between Italy’s 10-year bonds and those of Germany widened. Continue reading

Russia Sanctions Accelerate Risk to Dollar Dominance

While no one’s suggesting the dollar will lose its status as the main currency of business any time soon, its dominance is ebbing. The greenback’s share of global reserves has already shrunk to under 61 percent from more than 72 percent in 2001. The drumbeat has only gotten louder since the financial crisis in 2008, an event that began in the U.S. when subprime-mortgage loans soured, and the largest emerging-market nations including Russia have vowed to conduct more business in their currencies.“The crisis created a rethink of the dollar-denominated world that we live in,” said Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Corp.’s U.S. Trust, which oversees about $380 billion. “This nasty turn between Russia and the West related to sanctions, that can be an accelerator toward a more multicurrency world.”

Such a transformation may take as long as 25 years, with the dollar remaining “top of the heap” even as other currencies play a greater role, Quinlan said, speaking by phone on Aug. 4 from New York. Continue reading

Germany’s Spy Agency Is Ready To Shake Off Its Second Tier Reputation

The leader of Europe is once again about to stand on its own two feet, regain control.

 

“In the CIA people view liaison relationships as a pain in the ass but necessary,” says Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent whose identity was infamously disclosed by aides to President George W Bush soon after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Liaison relationships are the CIA’s term for cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, and, given that not even the world’s mightiest spy outfit can go anywhere it likes, the CIA maintains plenty of such liaisons.

That includes the decades-long collaboration with Germany’s BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), which was recently dented in a spectacular fashion when the CIA apparently decided that waiting for the BND to deliver information was too laborious and so put one of the BND’s own agents on its payroll. In fact, after having established a remarkable degree of closeness due to the shared threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destructions, espionage relations between allies are taking a sharper turn.

Nigel Inkster, a former MI6 agent who also served as the agency’s Assistant Chief and Director for Operations and Intelligence, adds “There’s been an erosion of cooperation between Nato allies with regards to Russia. Germany and Italy in particular have become much more economically dependent on Russia.”

A recently retired top BND official, who also asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter says, “We’ve always said [to the Americans], ‘up to here but no farther’. Now they’ve crossed that line.” In response, Germany has expelled the CIA’s station chief. Some German politicians, having found that the NSA monitored their phones, are now using encrypted ones. Continue reading

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

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