Joschka Fischer, from Green to wars and Big Oil

This is a video from the USA about the Afghan war and pipeline plans.

The Irish Green party used to be in opposition. They used to support the movement of local small farmers and other residents of western Ireland against the environmentally dangerous plans of Shell oil corporation.

Now, however, the Greens are in a government coalition with the Fianna Fáil conservatives; something they had said they would never do because of Fianna Fáil corruption. Now, in that coalition, they support the anti-environmental Shell project, rammed down the throats of local people by violence of police and hired Shell thugs. In disgust, the green voters are running away from the party, which was nearly completely wiped out at the recent European and local elections.

Not only have the Irish “Green” party leaders dropped their opposition to Big Oil. They have also dropped their opposition to United States administrations using Shannon airport in Ireland for wars, including “rendition” torture flights.

See also The rise and fall of the Irish Greens: here.

This Irish Green sharp turn to the Right had a precedent in Germany. There, it is said that the only green still left in the Green party is the olive-green of military uniforms. The party leaders, especially then foreign minister Joschka Fischer, in 1999 supported the war in Yugoslavia, against the wishes of many rank and file party members. Later, they supported sending German troops to the Afghan war, also against the wishes of many rank and file party members. Though armed forces are extremely destructive in environmental terms, especially so during wars.

Joschka Fischer now not only does not care anymore about the environmental disasters of war; he does not care about the anti-environmentalism of Big Oil corporations anymore, as long as they give him a fat cat salary to profit from his political connections.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

Germany: Joschka Fischer takes post as Nabucco pipeline adviser

3 July 2009

Representatives of the Nabucco consortium in Vienna have confirmed that Joschka Fischer—former Green Party leader and foreign minister in the former Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green government—has taken a post as adviser to the Nabucco pipeline project, in which the German RWE company is also involved. According to media reports, the “six-digit salary” consultancy contract has already been signed.

Fischer is following in the footsteps of his former coalition partner, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), who also has a lucrative post in the energy industry. The two men, however, are working in direct competition with one another. Just a few months after the change of government at the end of 2005, Schröder took up a lucrative position as head of the supervisory board of the NEGP pipeline consortium, which is building a pipeline under the Baltic Sea in close coöperation with the Russian energy group Gazprom.

Fischer’s job now is to speed up the rival Nabucco project, which is supported by both the European Union and the American government, and seeks to transport natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe, bypassing Russia en route. The project has been at a virtual standstill for some years.

The crux of the Nabucco project lies in Turkey. The planned pipeline is to run from Ankara eastward to the Azerbaijani port of Baku on the Caspian Sea, via Georgia. The gas is then to flow westward over Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, to Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany.

The pipeline is planned to stretch approx 3,300 kilometres and cost €7.9 billion, with funding provided by a banking group including the European Investment Bank. Although the European Union terms the Nabucco pipeline one of its most important energy projects, the commencement of its construction has been pushed back several times and is currently planned for 2011. The first stage of development is due to be completed by 2014.

As the most important transit country for the pipeline, Turkey is demanding a special price for transporting the gas. The government in Ankara increasingly regards the Nabucco project as an instrument to expedite its plans to join the EU. In January this year the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded a speeding up of EU membership negotiations and for the first time raised the Nabucco project in this regard. In the event that Turkish membership be denied, then Turkey would regard the Nabucco project as “endangered.”

According to media reports, Fischer’s job is to commence negotiations with the Turkish government as quickly as possible. In his role as former foreign minister he was a strong advocate of EU membership for Turkey and is therefore regarded as highly suitable for the job.

But Nabucco has a much bigger problem than Turkish demands for gas transit fees. So far it is completely unclear which countries are to supply the gas for the pipeline. Possible central Asian supplier countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan currently export their gas via Russia. Moscow then sells the gas with a price increase to Western Europe.

So far, gas from Azerbaijan was regarded as the main source for Nabucco, but in fact the country could only supply one fifth of the necessary amount. In discussions with Turkey, therefore, the main issue has been how to win the cooperation of Iran for the Nabucco project. At the “energy summit” of the European Union held at the beginning of May in Prague, Turkish President Abdullah Gül stressed that Turkey was relying on winning Iranian cooperation for the Nabucco project.

In an article published in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Professor Gerhard Mangott from the Austrian Institute for International Policy described the significance of Iranian involvement in Nabucco: “The profitability of Nabucco requires a transport quantity of 31 bcm (billions cubic meters). From the current standpoint this volume cannot be acquired without Iranian natural gas. After Russia, Iran holds the second largest global reserves of natural gas (16 percent). Up to 60 percent of this total resides in largely unexplored gas fields. Access to this gas is strategically vital for the energy security of the European Union.”

Alongside domestic policy, the issue in the Iranian election campaign was [according to Fischer] “whether under conditions of opening up and international integration the country would develop a more rational foreign policy or not.” According to Fischer, Ahmadinejad stands for a policy of confrontation and partial isolation, Mousavi for the opening up of the Islamic republic.

The West confronts a dilemma, because the regime in Teheran is “on the one hand discredited and lacks legitimacy due to electoral fraud.” On the other hand, many problems cannot be solved “without the cooperation of the Iranian government.” This applies not only to the Iranian nuclear programme, but also to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Lebanon, as well as Palestine. “Iran will also play a role in the Caucasus and Central Asia.” …

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for his [Fischer’s] support for the Mousavi camp is the fear of German and European energy groups that they could be denied access to Iranian energy reserves by the Ahmadinejad regime. …

According to Guido Steinberg from the Foundation of Science and Politics, German companies threaten to be left out: “If the Iranians no longer do business with us, then they will look for other partners,” he warns. Teheran is currently in the process of a disturbing “geopolitical reorientation,” he writes in the recent edition of the Eurasischen Magazin. …

South Stream is to due to make the transport of Russian natural gas to Europe independent of the previous transit countries, Ukraine and Belarus. At the same time, the South Stream project could mean the end of Nabucco, because both Serbia and Hungary, as well as Bulgaria, have agreed to provide access facilities for the pipeline.

Pipeline plans near/through Serbia, but on German, not on Russian, terms, were one of the reasons why Fischer supported the 1999 Yugoslavia war.

This means the construction of South Stream could take place much faster than the Nabucco pipeline.

A hundred years ago the German government and Emperor Wilhelm II sought to extend German influence in the Ottoman Empire and gain access to the newly discovered oilfields in the Middle East through the construction of the Baghdad railway. This led to violent conflicts between the European great powers, which eventually contributed to the outbreak of the First World War. A similar role is being played today by the Nabucco pipeline and the associated global competition for access to energy. The Green Party and its long-time former leader Joschka Fischer are playing a key role in advancing this imperialist project.

The German Green Party has decided to form a coalition with the conservative Christian Democratic Union and the free-market Free Democratic Party in Saarland: here.

Just as Mao’s Little Red Book had so enraptured former Communist League of West Germany (KD) member Trittin [now: Green Party] in the 1970s, today it is his dream of never-ending German participation in military interventions: here.

German military to engage more offensively in Afghanistan: here.

AWACS in Afghanistan: here.

The ties that bind Democrats and Big Oil: here.

Blood and oil in Central Asia: here.

A former executive of a major German manufacturer was convicted of bribery on Monday for paying millions of euros to secure a [gas] contract in Kazakhstan: here.

40 thoughts on “Joschka Fischer, from Green to wars and Big Oil

  1. Turkey: Agreements reached on gas pipeline
    Despite financial uncertainties, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey agreed to pave the way politically to construct the Nabucco natural gas pipeline aimed at relieving European dependency on Russian gas. The agreement last week materialized after Turkey relinquished demands that it retain 15 percent of gas derived from the Caspian Sea region.
    At the Ankara meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s warm words for Iranian participation riled Washington.
    As if in response to a Greenpeace critique citing greenhouse gases and calling for solar energy, 12 corporations, mostly German, signed an agreement July 13 to plan and develop the Desertec Initiative, solar-energy installations strung across Northern Africa projected as eventually supplying 15 percent of Europe’s energy needs.


  2. Controversial plan for new naval base

    Turkmenistan: President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov announced plans yesterday to establish a naval base on the Caspian Sea coast, an area at the heart of a territorial dispute between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over oil and gas fields.

    The rivalry could jeopardise Turkmen plans to join the EU-sponsored Nabucco gas pipeline that bypasses Russia because gas from Turkmenistan would need to pass through Azerbaijan to enter the pipeline.


  3. France cuts deals with Kazakhstan

    France: President Nicolas Sarkozy won energy deals and an agreement allowing military hardware to pass through Kazakhstan yesterday.

    Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the military deal governed the shipment of French hardware and personnel to Afghanistan.

    The energy deals formalise the participation of two French firms in developing a natural gas field in the Caspian and grant a French consortium a role in building an oil pipeline from the Kashagan oil field to the Caspian.


  4. Irish speaker forced to resign

    Ireland: The embattled parliament speaker announced on Wednesday that he will resign over his lavish spending on staff and travel.

    Hours after two of Ireland’s major opposition parties Fine Gael and Labour declared they no longer had confidence in him and would seek to have him sacked, John O’Donoghue declared that he would step down next week.

    Mr O’Donoghue has claimed over £185,000 in expenses over the past two years.


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