German foreign wars, with extreme right support

This video says about itself:

6 September 2008

A dead staff sergeant, civilian casualties, injured troops .. the Bundeswehr has seen mounting violence in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Amid fresh debate about the German mission, Left party politicians have renewed calls for a withdrawal of German troops – calls which have been rejected by the governing coalition partners, the CDU and the SPD.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German parliament extends foreign military missions with support of the far-right AfD

16 December 2017

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bundestag (German parliament) agreed to extend a total of seven foreign missions of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces). Despite the ongoing government crisis, all parties are driving forward the militarization of foreign policy.

With a large majority and yes-votes from the ranks of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Social Democratic Party (SPD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Greens and Alternative for Germany (AfD), military missions that would have expired in the coming weeks have been extended by three months initially. These concern:

“Sea Guardian”: The NATO mission in the Mediterranean, in which the Bundeswehr is participating with warships and a current maximum of 650 soldiers, officially serves “the fight against people smuggling” (Defence Ministry). In fact, it is about sealing off fortress Europe against refugees from the war zones in the Middle East and Africa as well as the preparation of new neo-colonial forays.

In the Bundestag debate, SPD deputy Karl-Heinz Brunner bluntly declared the entire region was part of the German sphere of influence: “Africa is on our doorstep, a few nautical miles from Europe. Stability and perspectives for the states of North Africa—if they have any perspectives at all—and the countries in the Middle East are already in our very own interest. Failed states in the immediate vicinity of the EU would also pose threats to us. Otherwise the whole thing could blow up in our faces.”

“Counter Daesh”: In the war effort in Syria and Iraq, the Bundeswehr is involved with up to 1,200 soldiers. The mission includes reconnaissance flights by German Tornado fighters and air refuelling using A310 aircraft from Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan. In addition, the Bundeswehr crews the NATO AWACS reconnaissance aircraft based in Konya in Turkey.

The continuation of the mission, even after the official defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), underlines the fact that Berlin, from the beginning, was not concerned with the supposed “fight against terrorism.” Germany also wants to be present in Syria and Iraq when it comes to dividing up the spoils of war. The thousands of civilian deaths are part of the strategy. “I believe that in a war zone, the distinction between military and civilian victims is difficult and that it is probably unavoidable that there are consequences of military operations affecting the innocent and non-combatants”, said the foreign policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Jürgen Hardt.

The mandate to arm and train the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq was also extended for a maximum of 150 Bundeswehr soldiers. In the debate, Johann David Wadephul, a CDU member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, praised the mission as a “paradigm shift for German foreign and security policy” and as “epochal.” He meant thereby the German claim to replace the USA as a “great power for order.”

The intervention in Iraq had “shown that we have responded to a withdrawal of the United States.” It will happen “more often in the future that we are posed with the question: how do we act as Europeans? How do we act as Germans?” One cannot take a “narrow view and say: The Bundeswehr is responsible for defending the national borders, the territorial integrity of Germany and Europe. Of course it is responsible for this. But to use an old word from Peter Struck [SPD defence minister under Gerhard Schröder], we must defend our freedom, our independence, in other regions of the world.”

“Resolute Support”: With the votes of the CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens, the deployment of currently 980 Bundeswehr soldiers in Afghanistan has been extended. In the debate, Thorsten Frei (CDU) argued for an increase in the occupation forces despite the overwhelming rejection of this in the population. He considered, “the decision of the American president to send 4,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan” to be “correct.” Those who criticized Trump for his statement, “We are only killing terrorists”, and continued to push for “nation-building” should not say, “We cannot send four-digit numbers of German soldiers to Afghanistan.”

In reality, the Bundeswehr has never pursued “nation-building” in Afghanistan, but propagates murder and manslaughter. From 2001 to 2014, German troops have been involved in a brutal combat mission as part of ISAF. The terrible climax of this was the “Kunduz Massacre”. In this air raid on two tankers on September 4, 2009, ordered by Colonel Georg Klein, the then Bundeswehr commander of Kunduz, up to 142 people were killed or injured, including many women and children, according to official NATO statements.

In the extension of the missions in Africa it became clear how closely all parties are cooperating with the AfD on the return of German militarism. In addition to “Sea Guardian,” the UNAMID and UNMIS missions in Sudan and South Sudan were also extended with the support of the right-wing extremists. …

Above all, the debate on the extension of the Bundeswehr mission in Mali revealed the objective logic flowing from the involvement of the AfD. Under conditions of growing tensions between the imperialist powers, German imperialism is acting with increasing aggression and nationalism in order to assert its interests.

AfD politician, and former staff sergeant in the armoured division, Jens Kestner complained, “French interests in Mali, in the West of Africa” were being followed “with precipitate obedience”, where “German interests are clearly in the foreground.” Mali was “three times the size of Germany” and could “not be pacified, stabilized, let alone secured with a mandate cap of 1,000 soldiers and currently 968 comrades in action.”

Representatives of other factions stressed that in the future, the military would also have to play a greater role in the Bundestag.

CDU defence spokesman Roderich Kiesewetter said that from his point of view it was not enough to say “that we hold the annual debates on military mandates—about 16, twice a year hold a budget debate and a debate on the report of the Bundeswehr Commissioner.” He said this “also as a retired colonel”, but “not to thank my old profession, but vice versa: I think our soldiers expect more from us, namely, an evaluation of the missions, an accounting for the missions and a regular debate in the Bundestag about our international commitments.”

In her speech, Siemtje Möller from the SPD saluted Colonel Oliver Walter, who “today is a guest in the visitors’ gallery as a representative of the wardens regiment” (of the German Luftwaffe).

… the Left Party was the only faction not to agree to any military missions.


German nazi army officer’s race war plot

This video says about itself:

24 July 2017

German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen visited Hammelburg military barracks, Monday, where former Lieutenant Franco A, who was later charged with masterminding an assassination plot of senior German politicians, was stationed until his arrest.

Von der Leyen followed several training exercises at the camp before outlining her opinion that the military training ground should be expanded.

Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defence (German): “The armed forces are involved in 16 different missions at the moment. That means the soldiers are prepared for missions in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, to name just a few of the 16 missions. Hammelburg will also play a huge role in the future, and the fact that the armed forces are growing again after 25 years is demonstrated [by] the fact that we hire more soldiers, 18,000 in the next 7 years, which means that we need more training. Hammelbach will get an investment of over 70 million euros in the next 5 years. That is urgent if you look at the infrastructure.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Far-right soldier ‘planned attack to start race war

Thursday 14th November 2017

A GERMAN soldier has been charged with planning “false flag attacks” to inflame a race war after an earlier case against him was dropped.

The man, an army lieutenant known as Franco Hans A, was arrested in April along with two suspected accomplices and has been charged by federal prosecutors with planning an act of violence and violations of weapons and explosives laws.

More serious charges of plotting a terrorist attack were dismissed by the German criminal court last month after a lack of evidence.

He planned to attack those he accused of sympathising with refugees

The arrest of Mr Franco A has rocked Germany with a wide-ranging investigation into 275 far-right sympathisers in the country’s armed forces.

The German Defence Ministry probe earlier this year discovered nazi-era memorabilia, including posters and munitions, in army barracks.

It found soldiers performing nazi salutes and abusing servicemen from minority ethnic backgrounds.

In a statement, prosecutors said: “Motivated by a nationalist attitude, he planned to carry out an attack at an unknown time on high-ranking politicians and public figures who stood up for what the accused regarded as an especially refugee-friendly policy.

He wanted people to believe that his attacks were related to radical Islamist terrorism committed by somebody who had been granted asylum.”

Mr Franco A had stockpiled firearms, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and 50 explosive devices, some of which had been taken from military storage.

He planned to pose as an undocumented refugee and claim benefits while living in a hostel for several months.

The far-right has seen a resurgence in Germany with the Alternative for Germany winning seats in parliament for the first time in September’s election.

German pilots refuse to deport refugees to death

This video from Germany says about itself:

19 November 2016

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Hanover, Saturday, to protest against the German government’s plans to deport Afghan nationals under an agreement signed by the EU.

Protesters argue the move will put deportees in danger, due to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and the resurgence of the Taliban. Claudia, a protester, said “in Afghanistan there is still a war going on, those who will get deported, probably they will die or really suffer.”

After police in Honduras refusing to kill pro-democracy demonstrators, now this.

By Elizabeth Schumacher in Germany, 4 December 2017:

German pilots refuse to carry out deportations

Pilots across Germany are stopping planned deportations of rejected asylum seekers. At the same time, refugees are appealing their deportation orders in record numbers – and winning.

Many pilots in Germany are refusing to participate in deportations, local media reported on Monday.

Following an information request from the Left party, the government said that 222 planned flights were stopped by pilots who wanted no part in the controversial return of refugees to Afghanistan, which has been deemed a “safe country of origin” in some cases, despite ongoing violence and repression in parts of the country.

Some 85 of the refusals between January and September 2017 came from Germany’s main airline Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings. About 40 took place at Dusseldorf airport, where the controversial deportations are routinely accompanied by protesters on the tarmac. The majority of the canceled flights, around 140, took place at Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s largest and most important hub. …

As Germany stepped up deportations, the number of asylum seekers appealing their decisions has increased significantly. Nearly every second ruling made by the BAMF in the first half of the year was brought before a judge.

This is nearly double the number of appeals made during the same period in 2016 – as it stands now, the courts side with about one in every four asylum seekers who appeal their status.

German racist’s murder attempt

This 2014 video says about itself:

Worries of violent activity by neo-nazi groups in recent years are also troubling the country that saw the worst face of fascism – Germany.

From Think Progress in the USA:

German mayor stabbed in the neck by anti-immigrant attacker

Mayor Andreas Hollstein’s attacker was allegedly upset over his stance on refugees.

Luke Barnes

Nov 28, 2017, 3:36 pm

A mayor in the small German town of Altena was slashed in the neck by a man who was upset about the mayor’s pro-refugee stance.

Andreas Hollstein, 54, had stopped by a kebab shop on Monday night when he said was approached by a man asking if he was the mayor. According to Hollstein, the man began accusing him of “bring[ing] in refugees”, produced a foot-long blade, and lunged at him.

The mayor was saved by the quick-thinking of kebab shop owner Ahmet Demir and his family. Demir and his father overwhelmed the attacker, while his mother called the police, who arrived quickly and arrested the assailant.

Hollstein, who suffered a six-inch cut to the left side of his neck, praised the family, who are of Turkish origin, for their reactions.

“I’m sure if they hadn’t reacted like that, I wouldn’t be alive now,” he said.

Hollstein has been subjected to a barrage of abuse from Germans critical of his pro-refugee immigration stance. His small town of Altena took in more than 100 extra refugees in 2015 and established a network pairing new families with sponsors to help them integrate. “Everyone who works for people…is experiencing hate spread through social media and threats — I have had several in the past years”, Hollstein told the New York Times. “Interaction at the municipal level, not only in dealing with refugees, has become increasingly tough and ruthless.”

The attack on Mr Hollstein is the latest example of the growing specter of far-right extremism within Germany. Earlier this year, the German newspaper Tage[s]spie[ge]l reported that authorities were aware of at least 23,000 far-right extremists in Germany, 12,100 of whom were described as violence-prone. …

The high-profile trial of alleged neo-Nazi Beate Zschäpe is also nearing its conclusion after four years. Zschäpe is accused of being part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which is accused of killing ten people, including a policewoman, between 2000 and 2007. The group is also accused of arson, two bomb attacks, and 15 robberies.

Hollstein is not the first German mayor to be attacked over refugee policies in recent years: In 2015, mayoral candidate for Cologne Henriette Reker was also stabbed in the neck while handing out roses to pedestrians, by a [neonazi] man angry with her policies.

“We are shocked by the misdeed’s presumed xenophobic motive”, her campaign said at the time, adding that she was recovering in the hospital with family by her side. (Although Reker, an independent, was stabbed one day before the election, she managed to coast to victory with 52 percent of the vote.) …

[This is] just months after the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party gained an unheard-of 13 percent of the vote. One of AfD’s flagship criticisms: Merkel’s immigration policies and the idea that she had helped speed up the “Islamisation” of Germany.

“Islam’s expansion and the ever-increasing number of Muslims in the country are…a danger to our state, our society and our values,” the group’s manifesto reads.

The knife attack on the mayor of the German town of Altena, north of Cologne in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, is the product of the anti-refugee climate created by the political parties and media in Berlin: here.

German coalition government talks failure

This video says about itself:

German coalition talks fail as would-be partner pulls out

19 November 2017

German coalition talks fail after a would-be coalition partner pulls out of negotiations. Latest developments create hurdles for Merkel to secure herself a fourth term.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German government coalition talks stall

20 November 2017

After four weeks of talks, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Greens failed to reach agreement on a so-called Jamaica coalition by Thursday evening. German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel had set the November 16 date as the deadline for the conclusion of exploratory talks. Two months after the federal election, Germany remains without a new government, and it is entirely unclear when one will be established.

The negotiating teams separated early Friday morning after 15 hours of talks, having reached no agreement on any essential points in dispute. Several meetings of party committees organised to discuss the result were cancelled. The talks began again at midday on Friday, without a deadline for their conclusion being set.

The views on if and when an agreement will be reached diverge wildly. Deputy FDP leader Wolfgang Kubicki said, “We are so far apart on the issues in dispute—immigration, combatting climate change, finance policy, internal security—that I currently can’t imagine how we can come together in such a short time.”

“We are convinced that we can come together if we want to come together,” said CSU leader Horst Seehofer. He added, “We will do everything humanly possible to determine whether a stable government can be formed.” Green Party parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt proclaimed over Twitter, “We are ready to talk and hope there will be a result.” At the same time, she did not exclude the possibility that this would not be achievable.

If the talks fail, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will assume a decisive role. He has the task of presenting a candidate for the post of chancellor to parliament. If this candidate does not receive an absolute majority in the first round, and another candidate fails to secure a majority within two weeks, deputies can elect a candidate in the third round with a relative majority. The president then has the option of accepting them within seven days as chancellor, or dissolving parliament. There has never been a minority government in the history of the German Federal Republic.

Steinmeier could use his position to force his party, the Social Democrats (SPD), to continue the grand coalition with the CDU and CSU. Such a coalition would have a clear majority in parliament, with 399 of 706 seats. However, the SPD has insisted thus far on going into opposition, not least because the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) would be the largest opposition party in parliament. But this opinion could change. Almost all parties are afraid of new elections.

The rapidity with which the SPD could change course is shown by the latest developments in Lower Saxony. After having bitterly fought each other during the election campaign, the SPD and CDU reached a deal just four weeks later on the formation of a grand coalition.

The reason for the crisis of the Jamaica coalition talks (named after the colours in that country’s flag, the black, yellow and green of the CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens) is not the political differences between the participating parties, which have long collaborated in all conceivable combinations at the state level. It has much more to do with their political instability. Under the pressure of growing geopolitical tensions and sharp social conflicts, the political system which enabled three or four parties to guarantee stable “left-wing” and “right-wing” majorities is breaking apart.

As all of the established parties move further to the right, they are fracturing. This not only finds expression in the entry of the AfD into parliament, which now has seven parties for the first time, but also in sharpening conflicts within the parties. Within the CSU, which achieved its worst election result in its history, a bitter dispute is raging over leader Horst Seehofer, who risks losing his position as Bavaria’s minister president. Bitter faction fights are also ongoing within the CDU, SPD, Greens and Left Party.

Under these conditions, the issues in dispute among the Jamaica coalition negotiators, whose parties share considerable common ground, are becoming questions of prestige. This is shown very clearly on refugee policy, which was debated for 12 of the 15 hours of negotiations on Thursday.

The CSU, which fears competition from the AfD in next year’s Bavarian state elections, is insisting on an upper limit on immigration, while the Greens, eager to avoid losing liberal voters, oppose this. In practice, this amounts to the CSU seeking to write an overall limit for immigration into the coalition agreement, whereas the Greens prefer the formulation “management of immigration.”

Both options amount to the same thing, as has been shown in practice. In states where the Greens are in government, refugees are bullied and deported just as ruthlessly as in other states. The Greens’ ranks include Baden-Württemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann and Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer, two hardliners on the issue of refugee policy.

The same applies to other issues being haggled over by the Jamaica coalition negotiators. A 61-page document containing the results of the exploratory talks thus far, which was leaked to the press on Thursday and contains disputed points in brackets, reveals widespread agreement on core points.

For example, the Jamaica parties agree that what is required is “a new balance between the best possible security for our country and civil freedoms and rights.” Translated into plain language, this means that civil rights will be sacrificed in the name of strengthening the security and surveillance apparatus. To this end, they plan to hire 7,500 new federal police offices and 5,000 at the state level, coordinate police and security services more closely, strengthen the federal domestic intelligence agency, extend video surveillance, and control the EU’s external borders more effectively.

The massive military build-up and foreign interventions launched by the previous government will also be continued and expanded. The paper pledges on the issue of defence to make “available to soldiers the best possible equipment, training and support.”

“We want to make the German army more UN-capable and suitable for Europe,” the document continues, “and for this purpose toughen it up in the following areas: digitalisation, deployment and transport capabilities, unmanned reconnaissance, tactical mobile communication.”

The paper explicitly endorses an “Africa strategy” and the continuation of the military intervention in Mali. In Iraq and Syria, it strives for the development of the intervention against ISIS into a permanent military presence, with a mandate that “makes a contribution to the new focus on capacity-building within the NATO framework, strengthening reliable and politically controlled security structures throughout Iraq.”

On finance policy, where differences over detail exist, the coalition parties agree to table “budgets without new debt for the coming four years”—meaning the continuation of the austerity policies associated with long-serving Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU).

Nonetheless, ruling circles are concerned that due to internal differences, a Jamaica coalition will not prove stable enough to enforce its anti-worker and militarist programme in the face of mounting social and political opposition. An increasing number of press articles are being published accusing the Jamaica parties of not going far enough on the issues of the strengthening of the military and state apparatus at home and abroad.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article last week headlined, “Jamaica is putting German security at risk.” The author, Wolf Poulet, was a German army officer from 1963 to 1994, last as a colonel in the general staff, and now runs a consulting firm.

He accused the Jamaica alliance of failing to deal with the “future capabilities of our country, under conditions of increasingly dangerous developments of the complex global situation.” The key issues at stake are “Will the new government plan, introduce and finance effective measures to reestablish the German defence capabilities required in Central Europe in time? Will Germany permanently be willing and capable of consistently realising ‘the right to material self-assertion’ (i.e., the right to wage war), as every state is entitled to?”

According to Poulet, “The most important of all questions is not being asked: how much time and what means must be utilised so that the combat power and capability of the army, air force and navy to deploy is adequate?” It is “obvious” that there is not enough daring “to explain this demand to the traditionally ‘peace-oriented’ Greens and frame it politically.” As the devil evades the holy water, so the emotive words “combat power” and “increase in deployment readiness” are being avoided.

It remains unclear how long the process of forming a new government will drag on and what its final composition will be. However, one thing is certain: it will be the most right-wing government since the founding of the Federal Republic, combining massive attacks on democratic and social rights with militarism and war.

See also here.

The failure of talks on a so-called Jamaica coalition between the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Green Party and Free Democratic Party (FDP), eight weeks after Germany’s federal election, has not only triggered a deep crisis in Berlin, it also marks a turning point in German and European politics: here.

ANGELA MERKEL’S FOURTH TERM IS IN DOUBT Efforts to form a coalition in Germany have failed over the discussion of immigration. [Reuters]

Four days after the failure of the exploratory talks on the formation of a Jamaica coalition between the conservative, liberal and Green parties, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) is preparing the way for a continuation of the grand coalition: here.