Germany spying on Turkey scandal


This video is called German Spying Report Angers Turkey, Embarrasses Berlin.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

German ambassador summoned over Turkey spy claims

Monday 18th August 2014

TURKEY summoned German ambassador Eberhard Pohl yesterday to demand a “formal and satisfactory explanation” following a report that German spooks had targeted Turkey.

Mr Pohl was also told that, if the reports were true, Turkey expected Germany to immediately stop spying on the country.

German magazine Der Spiegel had alleged on Saturday that the BND agency had listened to calls made by US Secretary of State John Kerry and predecessor Hillary Clinton.

It also cited a confidential 2009 BND document listing Turkey as a target for intelligence gathering.

If true, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said, “such practices would in no way be acceptable in an environment that requires mutual trust and respect between friends and allies.”

German officials would not confirm Der Spiegel’s report.

Government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz would say only that it had informed a parliamentary intelligence committee about some matters in the report last month and would inform it about the rest soon.

German spies spied on John Kerry too


This February 2014 video is called New German TV Snowden Interview – Clapper Put in His Place.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saturday Aug 16 2014, 16:52

The German secret service has spied on a call by the US American Secretary of State, John Kerry. According to the weekly Der Spiegel it was a ‘bycatch’ in a thorough interception of Turkish officials.

Lots of criticisms are possible about the Turkish government. However, officially Turkey is a NATO ally of Germany. There are German soldiers in Turkey, close to the border with Syria, increasing military tensions in that area. So much for the honesty in military alliances.

The German government commanded this in 2009 and that monitoring continues until the present day. According to the magazine it is not clear who are spied on.

Yesterday German media already published that the predecessor of Kerry, Hillary Clinton, had her phone tapped two years ago. Germany had previously been critical of the US because Chancellor Merkel was bugged by the NSA.

German boars still sick from Chernobyl nuclear radiaton


This video from Germany says about itself:

What’s cuter than baby orphan boar piglets? Baby orphan boar piglets being raised by a puppy!

When VICE Germany sent us some footage of the Lehnitz animal asylum, we weren’t sure how cute it was going to be. Little did we know, boar piglets live there! These little rascals were found in the woods and love to eat, sleep, play, and hang out with their surrogate mom, who’s a dog. We’re pleased to present Spots, Nesti, Diva, Borstel, Ernie, and Bert!

Translated from DPA news agency in Germany:

Still many boars radioactively contaminated, decades after Chernobyl accident

In some regions of Thuringia meat of wild boar is still contaminated by radioactivity.

Erfurt. 28 years after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl boars are still so contaminated that their meat can not be sold in Thuringia. Last year, according to the Ministry of Health 586 shot animals were examined and in almost every tenth of them the limit of 600 becquerels per kilogram was exceeded. The end of that problem is not in sight, as the cesium content halves only every 30 years, said the head of the department for food inspection, Karin Schindler.

German spies spied on Hillary Clinton


This video says about itself:

6 July 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks about suspected ‘double agent case’ as she promotes her new book “Hard Choices” in Germany. Linda So reports.

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

German intelligence intercepted Hillary Clinton conversation

The incident, which occurred when Clinton was secretary of state, could potentially embarrass Germany, which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

By Alexandra Hudson

Aug. 15, 2014 | 9:47 PM

REUTERS – German security agents recorded a conversation involving Hillary Clinton while she was U.S. Secretary of State, media reported on Friday, a potential embarrassment for Berlin which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

Clinton’s words were intercepted while she was on a U.S. government plane, Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and German regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said, without giving details of where she was or when the recording was made.

The respected broadsheet quoted German government sources saying the conversation had been picked up “by accident” and was not part of any plan to spy on Washington’s top diplomat. The fact the recording had not been destroyed immediately was “idiocy”, said one of the sources.

Both Germany’s government and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House declined to comment on the reports on Friday.

Relations between the United States and Germany were hit last year by revelations by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that Washington spied on German officials and bugged the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The dispute was revived in July when Germany’s Federal Prosecutor arrested Markus R., a 31-year old employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND), on suspicion of spying for the Americans.

Details of the German recording of Clinton’s conversation were included in documents that Markus R. had passed on to Washington, said the German media reports, without citing a source for that information.

The newspaper and the radio stations said a joint investigation had discovered the documents also showed Germany’s government had ordered the BND to spy on a NATO partner state, without naming the country.

The media reports said U.S. authorities had brought up the affair in recent discussions, including one between current Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Merkel said in an interview last month that the United States and Germany had fundamentally different conceptions of the role of the intelligence service, and she stressed the Cold War was over.

See also here.

German militarism reviving


This video, recorded in Belgium, says about itself:

The last survivor of the destruction of Louvain in WW1 | Channel 4 News

5 August 2014

It was in Belgium where the Germans inflicted collective punishment on civilians 100 years ago. Channel 4 News correspondent Lindsey Hilsum speaks to the last known survivor of the sacking of Louvain.

By Elizabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

German commission undermines parliametary approval requirement for military operations

9 August 2014

Largely unnoticed by the public, a commission of former defence politicians as well as military experts has been working to repeal the requirement that Bundeswehr (armed forces) operations abroad obtain parliamentary approval.

The commission is headed by former defence minister Volker Rühe (CDU, Christian Democratic Union), his deputies are Walter Kolbow (SPD, Social Democratic Party), former parliamentary undersecretary of defence and Wolfgang Schneiderhan, former Bundeswehr inspector general.

Their activity is closely related to the campaign to revive German militarism, and the stated aim of the government and the president that Germany must take on a greater role and responsibility in the world, including through the use of military means.

After the Second World War, in response to the war crimes of the Wehrmacht (Hitler’s armed forces), the role of the Bundeswehr was constitutionally enshrined as a purely defensive army. The constitution expressly prohibits the preparation of aggressive military interventions. After German reunification in 1991, the then CDU-led government urged, however, that the Bundeswehr also participate in armed foreign missions of the UN and NATO. In 1991 and 1992, without the consent of parliament, German soldiers were sent on UN armed “peacekeeping missions” to Somalia and Cambodia. In 1992, the German armed forces participated in NATO surveillance flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The same year, the SPD, which was still in opposition and had previously criticized such missions, undertook a foreign policy reversal and called for the legal situation to be clarified.

The Supreme Court finally ruled in July 1994 that the deployment of the German armed forces abroad was in principle constitutionally permissible, however each mission needed the approval of the Bundestag.

Subsequent governments, in particular the former SPD-Green government led by Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer, have systematically expanded Bundeswehr missions abroad. The Bundestag has regularly given its blessing to such missions, from the war in Yugoslavia to the Afghanistan mission.

However, with the foreign policy change since the last federal election, and the tense political situation in Ukraine and the Middle East, the existing procedures are regarded as too time consuming by leading politicians and military brass. They want a free hand for quick-armed interventions. Emphasizing NATO treaty obligations, they argue that a mandatory requisite to seek a parliament decision for Bundeswehr missions poses an obstacle to Germany’s reliability as an ally and for its leadership responsibilities in NATO.

On July 29, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on the last meeting of the commission on July 8 in Aachen. The paper cites political scientist James Davis, a professor at the University of St. Gallen and a member of the commission, saying that Germany was among the group of countries, “in which the parliamentary right of consultation [was] particularly pronounced.” This would make deployments as part of multinational alliances more difficult.

It was along these lines that Volker Rühe, who was defence minister from 1992 to 1998 in the governments led by Helmut Kohl, also spoke. “We already no longer have national armed forces, but armies operating at European level increasingly in a division of labour. …This will be further consolidated. But this also means that it must be sure that their contribution is available.”

Calls for a softening and undermining of the need for parliamentary approval have long been made. For example, according to Walter Kolbow (SPD), the deputy chairman of the Commission: “We will not get far in an international context with a military constitution from 1955. It is about creating reliability for the allies.”

Before their meeting in Aachen, members of the commission visited the European aviation transport command in Eindhoven, Holland, the headquarters for the “Allied Joint Force Command NATO” in Brunssum and the base for AWACS reconnaissance aircraft in Geilenkirchen.

A total of 440 of 1,300 Bundeswehr soldiers used for the AWACS system are based in Geilenkirchen. Germany finances a third of the annual AWACS budget, to the tune of about 250 million euros. When the German government abstained in the vote in the UN Security Council on the bombing of Libya by NATO in March 2011, German crew-members on the AWACS aircraft that were circling over Libya had to be withdrawn.

Proponents of stronger military engagement by Germany repeatedly cite this abstention, which is now regarded by German politicians, in particular representatives of the Greens, as a serious foreign policy error that must never again be repeated.

Rühe said that this was an essential part of the job of the commission headed by him: “We need to find a way that protects confidence, so that European countries also engage in such a division of labour of military structures.”

Of the 800 soldiers at the NATO command post in Brunssum, 90 are from Germany. They are currently lead by the German General Hans-Lothar Domröse. Some military figures stressed during the commission visit that this command post would be almost paralysed if in an emergency the German forces were withdrawn from the operations staff.

This question arose three years ago, in the operations against Libya. However, German officers were ultimately not withdrawn from the NATO command post, despite the fact that Germany had abstained from voting in the UN Security Council for the mission. This fact too was concealed from the general public.

According to Rühe, a commission proposal to bypass parliamentary approval might look like this: Once a year, the government allows parliament to grant it so-called general “transnational powers,” in other words to issue a blank check for international military operations. The Bundestag should “affirmatively note” that other nations can rely on the Germans in these areas. In the case of a concrete deployment, the Bundestag would still have to agree, but the political threshold for rejection would be significantly higher.

However, the demands and wishes of the military leadership and also many politicians go much further. For example, some demand the replacement of the vote by the Bundestag before a Bundeswehr mission through a so-called call-back right. The Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: “The government decides on a deployment, the Bundestag can (theoretically) end it again. This is already possible for operations that cannot be delayed, but beyond that it will be impossible to enforce.”

The commission is to submit its proposals to the Bundestag by April next year. Its next meeting is scheduled for September 11. Despite being invited, the Greens and the Left Party have not sent any members to the commission, supposedly because they fear a weakening of the rights of parliament.

The Green defence spokeswomen, Agnieszka Brugger said: “We would really like to have cooperated, if the government parties were responsive to our suggestions.” In their opinion, the Parliamentary Participation Act in its current form already offers “rapid response” mechanisms. Parliament had “so far always shown great responsibility,” she said, alluding to the approval of the Greens to foreign Bundeswehr missions since 1998.

The drive to abolish parliamentary approval for foreign military missions makes clear that the revival of an aggressive German militarism goes hand in hand with the dismantling of democratic checks and balances.