Those Who Have, Shall Get

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) – Through loans and government bonds, Germany is reaping a billion euros in profits from Greece’s debt crisis. The German government has confirmed that profits from financial transactions with Greece have already reached €1.34 billion. German firms have also profited from the fact that, due to the crisis, Greece has been forced to sell government property. In a joint venture, just recently, a German investor bought the majority of shares of Greece’s Thessaloniki Port Authority – in cooperation with a fabulously rich Greek oligarch. At the same time, the German discounter Lidl was able to increase its market shares in competition with its Greek supermarket rivals because growing poverty is forcing people to buy low-priced groceries. Mass emigration, particularly that of highly qualified Greeks, is generating little noticed profits. Many Greeks, whose expensive education was paid by Athens, now work in Germany – placing their skills, for which Germany has not paid a cent, at Germany’s disposal.

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Germany’s War Record (II)

BERLIN/KABUL (Own report) – Nearly 15 years ago, NATO launched its war on Afghanistan. Under the occupation – with Germany playing a significant role – the economic and social conditions of the country are disastrous and the security situation, desolate. Since 2001, more than 220,000 people have been killed in the war, either as direct victims of combat or indirectly, according to a comprehensive analysis. The security situation in the country has “dramatically deteriorated,” affirms the German Bundestag’s Defense Commissioner. Today, soldiers must be flown by helicopter from one base to another, because use of the roads is too dangerous, even for armored vehicles. According to the United Nations, the number of refugees has reached 1.1 million, tendency rising. Opium cultivation is still Afghanistan’s largest economic sector. By national standards, 39.1 percent of the Afghans are living below the poverty line; 2.7 million are undernourished. The Bundeswehr, however, detects a positive development and recommends “patience and endurance.” (This is part 2 of a german-foreign-policy.com series, reporting on consequences of German military interventions over the past two decades, in light of the German government’s announcement of plans to increase its “global” – including military – interventions.)

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Bloody Alliance (I)

BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) – Saudi Arabia can use German technology of repression and skills provided by the German police for the suppression of its opposition, which last weekend culminated in a mass execution. In recent years, the German government has authorized the supply of telecommunication surveillance products to Riyadh, worth more than 18 million Euros. The German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation organized, among other things, training courses in counter-terrorism for Saudi Arabia’s GID intelligence service. Saudi Arabia even treats non-violent protests by its heavily discriminated Shia minority as “terrorism.” The German Federal Police is training Saudi border police officers within the framework of an official project, formally approved in 2009 by Germany’s Interior Minister at the time, Wolfgang Schäuble. According to reports, the training includes exercising the use of assault rifles and crackdowns on demonstrators. It has also been provided, at least temporarily, to members of the religious police force. This cooperation in repression is an element of a comprehensive economic cooperation guaranteeing German enterprises large sales and billions in contracts. Above all, it serves Berlin’s strategic Middle East policy objectives.

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Conflict over Natural Resources

BERLIN/LIMA (Own report) – The Catholic relief organization Misereor is sharply criticizing the new “Raw Materials Partnership” accord, concluded between the Federal Republic of Germany and Peru. Misereor writes that it fears “an aggravation” of the already growing “social conflicts developing around mining projects” in this South American country. This recently signed raw materials treaty grants German companies privileged access to Peru’s resources. The German government has now “signaled the Peruvian government” that “the expansion of the raw materials sector takes priority” over social and ecological regulations affecting that sector. The “raw materials partnership” is one of the measures Berlin is implementing within the framework of its “raw materials strategy” adopted in 2010, to be able to stand its ground in the global competition for access to the most important natural resources – particularly in relationship to China. Peru is an important source of metallic raw materials for Germany. The guarantee of raw materials is more important to Berlin than Misereor’s misgivings. Continue reading

Germany to Store Europe’s Energy

Power transition will result in domineering monopoly.

Whether it’s storing money, gold, armaments or sustainable energy, 2013 has seen Europe’s largest country rapidly gobble up key assets, positioning it as continental chief operating officer.

Recently Germany’s government approved €150 million of new investment capital to maintain its Energy Transition policy, or Energiewende. The program is managed by the Ministries of Economics, Environment, Education and Research.

This phase of stimulus is dubbed “sustainable power grids” and comes as part of the government’s sixth stage of energy research. Once created, these power grids will act as smart distribution centers managing supply and demand. The research has established an “Internet of Energy,” which forecasts a 10 percent reduction in domestic utility costs and a 20 percent reduction for commercial businesses. Continue reading