German police accused North Africans falsely

This video says about itself:

5 January 2017

German police in Cologne apologise after referring to North Africans as “Nafris” in a tweet. The police department has, however, defended racially profiling them during New Year festivities.

Translated from Judith van de Hulsbeek, Dutch NOS TV correspondent in Germany:

Hardly any North Africans in Cologne at New Year

Today, 16:31

Among the large groups of men who went to the New Year celebration in Cologne this year came, there appear to have been hardly any North Africans. This is in contrast to what the German police said before. …

After the New Year events there was commotion about a tweet by a policeman, in which he labeled a large group of men as ‘Nafris’, abuse for supposedly criminal North Africans. …

The police investigated whether among the men were persons accused of the assaults on New Year a year ago. But there is no evidence for that. “None of the suspects of Cologne in 2015-2016 and none of the 75 persons who had then received an exclusion order have been reported this year,” said Police Chief Mathies in a press release.

German demonstration against deportations to Afghan war

Pro-Afghan refugees rally at the Opernplatz in Frankfurt, Germany

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Demonstration in Germany against deportations to Afghanistan

12 January 2017

More than a thousand people protested last Saturday in Frankfurt against the German government’s deportation of refugees to Afghanistan. After a rally at the central Opernplatz square, a growing number of people joined the peaceful demonstration in the downtown area.

On December 14, 34 Afghan refugees were deported in a special charter plane from the Rhein-Main Airport, and additional group deportations to Kabul are planned later this month. Last year, a total of 25,000 people were deported from Germany, primarily from the Frankfurt Airport.

The rally in front of the old opera house was called on January 7 by the Frankfurt Afghan Hindu Cultural Association and other associations of Hindus and Sikhs. Their placards read “Stop Deportation and Persecution,” “We are human beings and not numbers!” “Equal Rights for Refugees,” “Keep families together,” and “I would like to live as a human being instead of dying as a Sikh in Afghanistan.”

Before 1980, up to 220,000 Hindus and Sikhs lived in Afghanistan, according to a spokesperson of the organizers. However, their number has fallen to 1,300 because under neither the Taliban nor the current NATO-supported government has it been possible for them to live a peaceful life, free of physical threat. In reality, the country is highly unsafe for all civilians today.

“We came to Germany with high hopes,” continued the spokesperson. “We have settled down and become a part of the society and support newcomers whenever we can. But that belongs to the past.” The group deportations into a land of crisis have struck refugee communities from Afghanistan at the heart, he said: “The war in Afghanistan has caught up to us. Once again, families will be torn apart, we must once again fear for our relatives.”

Janine Wissler spoke for the Left Party in Hesse and called briefly and perfunctorily for a halt to the deportations: “The group deportations to Afghanistan must be ended,” said the deputy Left Party president …

Immediately after Wissler spoke, two refugee aid personnel sharply criticized the practice of “voluntary departure” … . Tina and Daniel of the Wiesbaden Refugee Council said that anyone who gives credence to the official line about “safe” countries of origin and pressures the refugees to return voluntarily is acting hastily and irresponsibly. This practice places the refugees in enormous danger, they said.

As several speakers emphasized, the security situation deteriorated massively in Afghanistan last year. The foreign office has warned German tourists and business people against even short-term travel in the country. Afghanistan is anything but a “safe country of origin”: random raids by the Taliban and NATO air attacks endanger people day in and day out. A spokesperson reported that last week a Sikh representative in Kunduz was shot openly in the street: “Hindus and Sikhs are being sent to their deaths with eyes open.”

Many German youths also participated in the demonstration

Many German opponents of deportations, above all young people, took part in the demonstration. The mass deportation of refugees has provoked widespread horror and the plans for central deportation centres remind many of the Nazi concentration camps. …

Since last fall, the German federal government, which has called Afghanistan a safe country of origin, has maintained a cynical agreement with the government in Kabul concerning rejected asylum applicants. Parallel to this, the federal parliament has prolonged the engagement of the federal army in Afghanistan.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière is preparing new deportation centres near the large German airports as part of his plans to centralize the entire security apparatus, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is supporting this course with her injunction “deport, deport, deport.”

The Hesse Minister President Volker Bouffier (Christian Democratic Union) suggested several days ago that refugees picked up in the Mediterranean should be sent back to Africa. In addition, special intake centres should be built in Tunisia or Egypt, he said. Bouffier added that he completely supported a similar suggestion from the Christian Social Union, one of Merkel’s coalition partners at the federal level.

Federal President of the SPD Sigmar Gabriel criticized Thomas de Maizière’s police-state plans from the right, downplaying them as purely “symbolic politics.” And Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD) spoke of a “preventive offensive” and demanded changed laws, so that detention pending deportation would also be possible when the countries of origin do not cooperate.

Joschka Fischer advocates ‘green’ German militarism

This video from Germany is called Uli Rippert’s contribution to May Day 2016: Once again, German militarism is rearing its ugly head.

From all the ‘green’ stuff which German politician Joschka Fischer used to talk about, the only two ‘greens’ left by now are the olive-green of military uniforms; and the green of the logo of the BP Big Oil polluters with whom Fischer associated as he became a Big Oil millionaire.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

Germany: The Greens’ Joschka Fischer calls for national rearmament

10 January 2017

Anyone who wants to know what prominent political circles in Germany are thinking should read the newspaper columns by ex-Green Party leader Joschka Fischer. The former anarchist and street fighter, who made a political career with the Greens, and then as foreign minister oversaw the first Bundeswehr (armed forces) missions abroad, never distinguished himself with an independent opinion. He provides, however, a sensitive measure of political trends. He sets his course according to the prevailing wind, before others even perceive this.

Fischer has long spoken for that section of the German bourgeoisie that holds a strong European Union (EU) and a close military alliance with the US within the framework of NATO to be indispensable. The coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens broke up prematurely in 2003 not least because Fischer rejected the close relationship between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is all the more remarkable that Fischer now calls for a “security option on the basis of the nation state” and places the future of NATO in question. He draws the conclusion from a possible rapprochement between Moscow and Washington under the new US president, Donald Trump, that Germany should massively upgrade its military—irrespective of the EU, and if possible, in cooperation with France.

On Monday, in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he published an “Outsider’s view” headlined, “Europe’s Agenda 2017: Squeezed between Presidents Putin and Trump, the EU cannot remain a ‘soft power.’” He calls the coming to power of Trump on January 20 a “watershed moment” for Europe, which will deeply shake the EU. He sketches out a scenario in which Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump attempt “to destabilise the EU by supporting nationalist forces and movements within its member states.”

What had even more far-reaching consequences for the EU, said Fischer, was “the announcement by the new American president to review the American security guarantee for Europe and to put the relationship of the US with Russia on a new basis.” If this were “at the expense of NATO, this would radically change the security situation for Europe.”

Although Fischer advises the “EU should now shore up what it has left with respect to NATO and focus on salvaging its own institutional, economic, and legal integration,” he continued, “It should also look to its member states to provide a second security option. The EU itself is based on soft power: it was not designed to guarantee European security, and it is not positioned in its current form to confront a hard-power challenge.”

As a Green, Fischer clothes his call for military rearmament in phrases about the preservation of peace. If Europe wants “an enduring peace” then “it first must ensure that it is taken seriously,” he writes. This is “clearly not the case today.” That is why Europe, “in the Trump era, beyond the US security guarantee, must substantially strengthen its own [military] capabilities.”

Fischer therefore advocates a joint effort by France and Germany: “Other countries such as Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, and Poland will also have a role to play, but France and Germany are indispensable.” But he also has to admit that many diplomats hold the differences between Germany and France on military issues to be insurmountable. Although he hopes that Berlin and Paris find a compromise under pressure from Trump and Putin, ultimately his proposal amounts to a massive strengthening of German militarism.

That Fischer is not alone is shown by the German reaction to the American hacker accusations against Russia. Although the US intelligence agencies have so far produced no factual evidence to support their allegation that the Russian government influenced the US elections, the German media supports what they say as an indisputable fact. The anti-Russian hysteria in Germany is also assuming grotesque proportions. Significantly, the edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung containing Fischer’s column bears the headline: “Berlin fears Russian hackers.”

The American ruling class is currently gripped by a fierce dispute over the future foreign policy direction. While outgoing President Obama and sections of the security apparatus want to escalate the confrontation with Russia, Trump and his followers regard China as their priority opponent.

The German media have largely taken the side of the Obama camp in this conflict. While some, during the Ukraine conflict, had warned against escalating the confrontation with Russia, with regard to Germany’s economic interests, they now fear a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow at the expense of the EU, and above all Germany.

They are responding by stepping up the campaign for the revival of German militarism, which began three years ago when German President Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen proclaimed the “end of [German] military restraint.” The return of militarism is being accompanied by a massive upgrade of the police and state monitoring apparatus to suppress any social and political opposition—with the Greens playing a leading role.

United States ‘alt-right’ Islamophobic fake news on Germany

This video from the USA says about itself:

Media Fawns Over Neo-Nazis (The So-Called Alt-Right)

2 December 2016

Donald Trump’s base includes Nazis, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and the KKK, including his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a former executive of the Neo-Nazi website, Breitbart. The Los Angeles Times and Mother Jones both wrote fluff pieces praising their fashion and ascendancy in Washington thanks to Donald Trump.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

From teleSUR:

Breitbart Takes Fake News to New Level with Muslim Attack

7 January 2017

The “news” story portrayed a deliberate attack on a Dortmund church by a “mob” of Muslims.

Far-right white nationalist website Breitbart has been criticized by German authorities and media for falsifying a story of a new year’s eve where a church was supposedly set on fire by a group of Muslims in Dortmund.

On Jan. 3., Breitbart published a story titled “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve.” The group reportedly chanted “Allahu Akbar” while setting the church alight, as the website cited live information from local media outlet Ruhr Nachrichten.

However, Ruhr Nachrichten then hit back at the story, saying that Breitbart’s reporting of the event has been “using our online reports for fake news, hate and propaganda.” The German outlet explained that the far-right website falsely connected a number of separate incidents to fabricate the story.

Local media reported that there were some individuals who launched fireworks in the crowd with police ordering a number to leave and took some into custody, and a small fire which lasted for 12 minutes started on the Church’s roof. Yet, there were no reports from the media or authorities which indicated that the fire was intentionally lit.

Importantly, while local media reported that there were around 1,000 people gathered in Dortmund’s Leeds Square for New Year celebrations and that there were groups of foreign people attending, it could not be seen as a “mob,” like Breitbart portrayed. It was also pointed out that the Church in questions was in fact, not the oldest in the country.

Ruhr Nachrichten‘s editor Peter Bandermann said that Breitbart also sensationalized how Syrians in the crowd were using the phrase “Allahu Akbar,” explaining that “this statement is a Muslim prayer as normal as ‘Amen’ in the Church.”

Bandermann added, “The fact is: there was no sign that terrorism was being celebrated in Dortmund.”

Police told local media that overall the celebrations amounted to a quiet night and later stated in a report that the number of call-outs for New Year’s celebration had actually decreased significantly from last year.

Thousands of users read and shared the Breitbart story, before it was revealed as a falsification. “The danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, justice minister of nearby Hesse, told the Guardian.

Breitbart was known as a mouthpiece for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign for promoting racism and white nationalism. Its former director Steve Bannon is now Trump’s chief strategist.

Breitbart already runs a website from London and is rumored to be opening up outlets in France and Germany ahead of elections later this year and to play on the increasing anti-immigration sentiment within the continent.

A number of German companies including BMW and Deutsche Telekom have already pulled their advertising from the website.

Politico co-founder offers effusive praise for Breitbart, a platform for white nationalism. The normalization of bigotry: here.

Democracy in danger in Germany

This 2013 video is about a pro-peace protest in Berlin against Thomas de Maiziere, then the ‘defence’ war minister of Germany.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

German Interior Minister De Maiziere calls for a police state

9 January 2017

The “Guidelines for a strong state in difficult times” published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) on January 3, amounts to a call for a police state. The interior minister, who is also responsible for ensuring compliance with the constitution, has proposed a series of measures that violate the fundamental principles contained in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.

The minister’s actions are virtually unprecedented. Such drafts are normally carefully prepared in ministries. “There is pre-planning, followed by preliminary discussions with the minister, then speech writers and press spokespeople get involved, then the work is passed through the hands of a thousand experts,” wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “And then, only then, is an opinion piece by a minister published.”

But this time, the minister reportedly wrote the text largely alone over the Christmas break. Bypassing all political committees and democratic decision-making, he presented his provocative demands to his ministry in a conservative daily newspaper.

At the heart of the wide-ranging catalogue of demands is the centralisation and strengthening of the country’s security apparatus. The federal structures of the police and intelligence agencies and their strict separation—codified in the Basic Law following the bitter experiences of Hitler’s state secret police (Gestapo)—would thereby be largely done away with.

De Maiziere called for the federal state to have “management competencies over all security agencies.” The powers of the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) and federal police are to be expanded, the domestic intelligence agencies in the states dismantled and integrated into a centralised domestic intelligence service.

The federal police, a paramilitary force which emerged from the border protection force and was originally only responsible for border security, will in future no longer be confined to border regions, but instead operate throughout the country. The German army is also to be deployed more regularly domestically. “Debates about this may have been understandable in the past. Now they are no longer,” wrote the interior minister.

What lies behind de Maiziere’s proposals?

For his part, he justified it by referring to the “horrific attack on the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin.” But it is already clear that in that case there was no lack of competencies, information or cooperation between the intelligence agencies. They had the suspected perpetrator Anis Amri under surveillance, knew his movements and various identities, and were aware of his plans for an attack and his relations with militant Islamists. They were so well informed that the question is posed as to whether they allowed him to carry out the attack in order to provide a pretext for the strengthening of the state apparatus.

One must look elsewhere for de Maiziere’s real motive. It is the social storm brewing in Germany and throughout Europe.

Social tensions are already at the breaking point. While a tiny minority is enriching itself fabulously at the top of society, working conditions for the vast majority are becoming ever harder and incomes are declining.

Should US President-elect Donald Trump follow through on his trade war pledges, this would have drastic consequences for Germany’s export-dependent economy. The same applies to the breakup of the European Union, which is progressing rapidly in the wake of Britain’s Brexit vote. In the Netherlands, Austria, France and Italy, where elections take place this year, parties hostile to the EU have significant chances of emerging victorious.

In Germany, the mounting anger at the established parties is currently finding expression in the growth of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD). But this will not remain so. In addition, the German government is rearming the military and preparing a vast expansion of foreign interventions, against which it anticipates significant opposition.

A recent edition of Der Spiegel, titled “The great erosion,” described some of these developments and posed the question, “Can it be that a revolution awaits?”

Under these conditions, de Maiziere’s proposal is aimed at prevention and suppression. Under the pretext of combatting terrorism, a “strong state” is being built and readied to suppress social opposition and resistance to militarism.

Many similarities with the 1930s are present. At that time, the ruling class responded to the radicalisation of the working class following the financial crisis and mass unemployment in 1929 by governing with emergency decrees and ultimately assisting Hitler to take power, even though his party controlled just one third of seats in the Reichstag. He was needed to destroy the workers’ movement and prepare the next war.

Thomas de Maiziere knows this history very well. He has to some degree grown up in Germany’s intelligence agencies, which have survived all of the twists and turns of German history and always served the interests of the ruling elite.

As a Wehrmacht officer, his father Ulrich de Maiziere served throughout the Second World War, including the Polish offensive and the siege of Leningrad. In the closing months of the war, he was a close confidante of Hitler as first officer of the general staff, and was highly valued. He continued his career as an officer in the Federal Republic and became General Inspector of the German army in 1966.

The elder de Maiziere’s brother, Clemens de Maiziere, was a member of the CDU in East Germany and a long-term collaborator with the Stasi. His son, Lothar de Maiziere, the interior minister’s cousin, was the last prime minister of the German Democratic Republic and dissolved it in 1990.

De Maiziere’s proposal is a warning. For some time, representatives of the ruling class have asserted that democracy and democratic rights are entrenched and that there would never be a return to dictatorship and war in Germany as in the 1930s. But social and political conflicts have only begun to emerge and they are already resorting to police state methods.

German government plans propaganda agency in response to “fake news”: here.

Namibians sue Germany about colonial genocide

This video says about itself:

2004 BBC Namibia – Genocide and The Second Reich documentary commemorating 100 years since the Herero and Nama genocide.

From the BBC:

Herero and Nama groups sue Germany over Namibia genocide

6 January 2017

Representatives of two indigenous groups in Namibia, the Herero and Nama peoples, have filed a class-action lawsuit against Germany in New York.

They are seeking reparations for what former colonial power Germany acknowledges was genocide.

The plaintiffs are seeking reparations and the right to representation at talks between Germany and Namibia.

Some 100,000 people are believed to have been killed when Germany crushed an uprising, beginning in 1904.

Namibia and Germany have been in talks about a joint declaration on the massacres, which Germany has recently admitted were genocide, but Herero and Nama descendants have been excluded from the talks.

Unlike with the victims of World War Two atrocities, Germany has also refused to pay reparations to victims, saying it pays millions of dollars of development aid to the country instead.

The dispute relates to a period in the late 19th and early 20th Century, when Germany was the colonial power in Namibia, then called South West Africa.

The suit claims damages on the basis that, as it states:

from 1885 to 1903, about a quarter of Herero and Nama lands were taken without compensation by settlers with official oversight – German descendants still farm some of that land today
colonial authorities ignored rapes of Herero and Nama women and girls as well as indigenous forced labour
as many as 100,000 Herero and Nama people died after they rebelled in 1904 in a campaign led by Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha

Studies also suggest that colonial rulers placed captives in concentration camps, and shipped off thousands of heads belonging to the dead to Berlin in an attempt to prove the inferiority of the defeated Africans in now discredited medical experiments.

The plaintiffs say Germany’s insistence it is making amends by paying development aid is unsatisfactory.

“There is no assurance that any of the proposed foreign aid by Germany will actually reach or assist the minority indigenous communities that were directly harmed,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Ken McCallion said in an email to Reuters news agency.

“There can be no negotiations or settlement about them that is made without them.”

The case was lodged with the US District Court in Manhattan under the Alien Tort Statute, a 1979 law often invoked in human rights cases.