“Stop the Ramstein Air Base” protests, 24 June – 1 July; German citizens preparing to block U.S. main base at Kaiserslautern

From Fort Russ

By Tom Winter
May 25, 2018

Translated from a German commentary by Klaus Hartmann

Again this year, the campaign “Stop the Ramstein Air Base” aims to expose the threat of war that emanates from this US military base at Kaiserslautern.

The Ramstein Air Base plays the central role in NATO warfare and all the covert and open aggression that the United States has in the Middle East. Whether drones to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, arms supply for the terrorists in Syria, the threat of war against Iran – nothing works without Ramstein. From here, from German soil, war is going out!

Surely the drone war out of Ramstein as a way station is superficially in the focus of public attention. This is also very justified, because this permanent murder without declaration of war and without court sentences is barbaric and scandalous. However, it should not be forgotten that the overall threat caused by the Air Base is many times greater.

In recent years and months, NATO has stationed a chain of new headquarters and weapons depots, battalions, and “spearheads” along the Russian border. NATO tanks are rolling through Germany to the “Eastern Front,” as the German media write without restraint, without inhibitions or scruples. With the Allied Air Command, the command center of a war against Russia lies in the US Ramstein Air Base.

The AEGIS missile system, deployed on four warships and land-based in Romania and Poland, shortens missile warning times for Russia. The US wants to secure a “risk-free” nuclear first strike capability by eliminating a counter-strike.

The misleading “missile defense shield” called the AEGIS system is offensive. At the push of a button from the US Ramstein Air Base, the land-based launchers can also shoot down atomic equippable Cruise medium-range missiles, which have been banned since 1987, bringing a new level of the nuclear threat to Europe.

Russia is not threatening any country in Europe or the world, and advocating collective security worldwide. However, NATO’s rearmament and new deployment threatens Russia’s sovereignty. Before that, it can not back down, but will take all necessary countermeasures.

Nevertheless, Russia has reduced its military spending by 20% to $ 55.3 billion, while the US has increased its own to $ 610 billion. The 29 NATO countries together spend $881 billion on armaments, almost 16 times that of Russia.

In the event of war, Russia could be forced to use its destructive power early and massively against the rear space of the enemy. Russia would have 6 minutes to press “the button,” then the Kaiserslautern region, the West Palatinate and all Germany in total is transformed into an atomic desert.

The intensified NATO confrontation with Russia gives further urgence to the protests in Ramstein / Kaiserslautern this year. On Friday,June 29, the big public evening event will take place in the Reconciliation Church Kaiserslautern with Gabriele Krone-Schmalz: “Don’t turn Russia into an enemy!”

The lethal US Air Base could disappear in a short time. The Federal Government must “only” terminate the “Contract on the Residence of Foreign Armed Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany,” and the notice period is only two years!

More than 50,000 people have signed the call “Disarm instead of arm up!” However, as a member of NATO, the Federal Government has committed to doubling its armaments budget to more than € 75 billion by 2024. Small note, this obligation is actually only for NATO members! What could be more natural than to withdraw from this alliance of aggression? We could save so much money and use it for education, social and affordable housing, care and health!

The protests from 24 June to 1 July 2018 include a one-week action, information and culture camp. The camp participants travel in buses to Büchel and demonstrate for the withdrawal of the nuclear weapons stationed there. From Monday to Thursday, a “Peace Workshop” will be held in Kaiserslautern with over 60 forums and workshops on topics relevant to peace policy. From the situation in Iran to the chances of armament conversion in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The climax of the protests will be on Saturday, June 30, 2018, two opening rallies in Landstuhl and Ramstein followed by a demonstration to the Air Base. Sahra Wagenknecht and Eugen Drewermann will speak at the closing rally. For the first time there is also a call for actions of civil disobedience – We will block the Ramstein Air Base!

The protests in Ramstein have become highlights of the action-oriented peace movement in recent years. But the success of the protest is not a matter of course! It depends on each and every one. We want, we have to become more so that the warmongers in Berlin can no longer play deaf!

Talk to friends and colleagues, organize the joint trip to Ramstein!  Inform yourself on the internet at https://www.ramstein-kampagne.eu/. With a variety of actions we contribute to a climate in society that puts the closure of the military base on the political agenda!

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/05/germans-citizens-preparing-to-block-the-us-main-base-at-kaiserlautern-heres-why/

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German media doesn’t want journalist’s documentary about Donbass (VIDEO)

From Rusvesna.su

March 22, 2017

Journalist Who Made Truthful Movie About Donbass Is Hounded in Germany (VIDEO) | Русская весна

Perhaps it is indeed the most European values: no one from the German TV channels showed an interest in the documentary of the journalist Mark Bartalmai, who is living in Donetsk since 2014, and impartially documented events in the People’s Republics. The truth about Donbass appeared to be uninteresting for central media, and instead of this they released the hounds on the journalist.

Mark Bartalmai is the only German journalist who, except for small breaks, is in Donetsk for such a long period of time, since 2014. None of his colleagues can brag about such experience. For example, the famous propagandist of ARD TV channel Golineh Atai mostly gives her reportings about Donbass from Kiev, receiving information on the conflict from the “hands of the enemy“: such an approach has little in common with qualitative journalism, writes the German website Telepolis.

Mark Bartalmai repeatedly offered his works to central TV channels and news services, however all of them were rejected. And as if that seemed to be not enough, in July of last year the ARD TV channel showed a reportage, the aim of which was to discredit the journalist.

Most likely, this programme was a reaction to the first film of Bartalmai under the name “Ukrainian agony – The concealed war”. Despite the fact that the author of the film was branded “Putin’s propagandist”, the film gained success, then the journalist was engaged in fund raising for further work.

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The new movie of the journalist “Frontline City Donetsk – Republica Non Grata”, first of all is a classical documentary, which after viewing the watcher can create their own opinion on the events. And it is due to this fact that this film has an advantage over the first film, where the conflict in Ukraine was shown more from the point of view of global interests.

It should be immediately noted that the film doesn’t describe the “camouflaged Russian army, which oppresses the local population with assistance of insurgents lusting for power”. Instead, the film describes those people who, in May, 2014, in their vast majority voted for separation from Ukraine, because, for them, the Kiev coup and the course on friendship with NATO was unacceptable.

Now, nearly three years later, the German media began to pay less and less attention to the crisis region. Meanwhile, the film of Bartalmai shows how consumers of news in the West are deprived of honest and realistic reportings from the place of events.

In the documentary the process of reconstruction of civil buildings in Donetsk is shown: houses, hospitals, schools destroyed by the Ukrainian artillery in 2014-2015 – i.e. in the hottest phase of the war.

At the very beginning of the film, the journalist asks a question – and who actually is a separatist? In the documentary numerous examples are shown of how actions of the Ukrainian authorities simply didn’t leave the people of the DPR another choice except how to create their own state.

The people living on that side of the blockade could hardly do something other than create their own structures for the maintenance of civilized life. Thus, it is possible to understand why decisions on nationalization of the enterprises creating additional profit were adopted: now the profit ceased to go into the pockets of Ukrainian oligarchs, and goes towards providing life for the people of Donbass.

Bartalmai draws a portrait of young society, which created – if to measure by international standards – their own apparatus of justice and police, which has its own car registration plates, passports, and committee on the defence of human rights, which is in continuous contact with OSCE and other structures. It is possible to say that the DPR is an even more constitutional State than Ukraine itself.

All this completely contradicts the image of “Russian occupation”, which so willingly is distributed by our (German) media. Thus, in the film the significant role of Russia isn’t denied: after the Ukrainian market disappeared, the traditional market – Russia – became the main supplier for the DPR. In addition, Russia regularly sends humanitarian convoys to the Republic.

At the end of the film the author convincingly shows that the destiny of the civilian population of Donbass in reality doesn’t especially interest neither western governments, nor the OSCE.

Somewhere it is even possible to assume that the German government realized already a long time ago that in the case of Ukraine it made a huge mistake, however it can’t recognize its own failure. Of course, it is difficult if you always present actions as non-alternative.

The documentary of Mark Bartalamai would have appeared on central German TV channels, however our news, obviously, declared Donbass “nobodies land”. And it is precisely for this reason that we need this film, summarizes Telepolis.

http://rusvesna.su/english/1490176780

German Secret Service: No evidence of Russian disinformation campaign. Chancellery: Keep looking

“The secret service calls the reporting of Russian media and their German offshoot ‘hostile.'”
This is reminiscent of President Richard Nixon’s (and other U.S. officials) view of the media. Shining a light on government policies and officials is unacceptable to them. Any factual reporting is ‘hostile’. Whistleblowers are ‘hostile’. Constitutions, laws, and public welfare are thrown out the window when they are inconvenient.
February 7, 2016 –
Fort Russ News –
– Tiroler Tageszeitung, translated by Tom Winter –
German Intel services: no evidence for a Putin disinformation campaign

German intelligence agencies, in extensive investigations, have reportedly failed to come up with clear evidence for a Russian disinformation campaign against the federal government.

Despite this result, the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) and the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV) do not see any reason for an all-clear, reported Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDR and NDR on Monday.

The media relied on the results of almost a year’s investigation. “We have not found any smoking gun,” according to the media in government circles, about the attempt to find striking evidence of Russia’s political interference. Such a document would have been presented by the government to warn Russia about this type of action.

Originally the secret services had planned to at least partially publish the investigation, which was categorized as a secret classified, the media reported. However, in the face of missing evidence, publication is not considered useful. This would have put a further strain on the already tense relationship with Russia.

However, the chancellor’s office ordered the facts to be further investigated: the report of the special analysis of “Sputnik” by BfV and the BND working group “psychological operations” is, from the government’s point of view, not an acquittal the media report.

Yet the secret service report documents a “more confrontational course” between Russia and Germany since 2014 and calls the reporting of Russian media and their German offshoot “hostile.”…

Poroshenko cuts Germany trip amid fighting in Eastern Ukraine – his political ploy

From South Front

January 31, 2017

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has cut a working visit to Germany amid the increased fighting between pro-Kiev forces and local militias in the region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

Heavy clashes and artillery duels in the area have been reported since January 28, inflicting casualties on the warring sides and to the infrastructure in the areas south and southeast of Donetsk, a capital of of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

A spokesman for the Ukrainian President said that the situation around the Kiev-controlled settlement of Avdeevka “an emergency situation verging on a humanitarian disaster,” ignoring that a large scale-attak on DPR forces launched by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and pro-Kiev paramilitary groups was launched from this direction.

Poroshenko’s working visit to Germany was clearly synchronized with the advance of pro-Kiev forces in Donbass. Thus, the only reason of the move was to come in focus of the mainstream media and to blame DPR forces and Russia for an alleged violation of the international agreements.

The Poroshenko regime urgently needs to attract attention of foreign players to itself and to get their assistance amid the ongoing political and economical crisis in Ukraine.

Considering that, the Kiev regime has repeatedly show that it’s ready to violate any international, humanitarian and moral norms to achieve own political goals, there are little doubts that the observed escalation was a planned act.

https://southfront.org/poroshenko-cuts-germany-trip-amid-fighting-eastern-ukraine-need-know/

To donate to South Front and help it continue its work, go to the link above.

Interview with German MP Sahra Wagenknecht (VIDEO)

From Sophie Co. — RT

December 4, 2016

https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/369194-germany-merkel-public-discontent/video/

With Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential race putting the prospects for transatlantic cooperation in jeopardy, EU leaders are now bracing for change. With Washington promising to focus on internal affairs, Berlin may now have to play the lead among its Western allies. Angela Merkel is planning to run for a fourth term as German Chancellor, and is seen by many as a beacon of stability in turbulent times. But as the country struggles with an influx of refugees, and public discontent grows, will non-establishment candidates be able to take on Germany’s ruling party? We ask the parliamentary leader of the Left Party – Sahra Wagenknecht.

Sophie Shevardnadze: Chancellor Angela Merkel will be running for a fourth term, but in regional elections, Merkel’s CDU party has suffered defeat. Will the Germans vote for the stability that comes with Merkel, or will they vote for change?

Sahra Wagenknecht: I wouldn’t say that Chancellor Merkel represents stability. Merkel has brought even greater social inequality to our country. There are a lot of people who feel that politicians have abandoned them, that we are moving away from democracy. But the problem is, there are no strong candidates within the Social Democratic Party, so the risk is quite real that Chancellor Merkel will remain in office for another four years. I think that most people in this country do not want things to “stay the same”.

SS: There is growing support in your country for the Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany – AfD. Do they stand any real chance of becoming part of the coalition government and influencing public policy?

SW: Well, I don’t think Alternative for Germany will become part of the next government. But you’re right, Alternative for Germany is, indeed, becoming stronger. It has made some very significant gains in recent regional elections, but not so much because people support the position of the AfD – it is chiefly because they were disappointed with the other parties.

It looks to them as if politicians don’t really care about their interests, and so many believe that by choosing Alternative for Germany they can express their anger, their frustration, and protest. In other words, for many people, a vote given to Alternative for Germany is a way to express their disappointment, not a sign that they wholeheartedly support the idea of AfD defining Germany’s politics. I don’t see them achieving that much, but I fear that they will have a much stronger representation in the next Bundestag.

SS: Der Spiegel wrote that during his visit to Berlin, the outgoing American President Barack Obama personally led the campaign in support of Merkel. Can Merkel be considered a successor to American policies in Europe?

SW: Well, she has always been a very successful proponent of American policy. She always believed that her function is to acknowledge and recognise American hegemony, the hegemony of the United States, meaning that it should ALWAYS be recognised. We do not know of any case in which Merkel has raised any objections against American policy, including military action both with NATO and without it.

I mean the military action that took place under American leadership, and in which Merkel played her part, and, therefore, Germany did, too. The most recent example of this is Syria. So, there has always been a close relationship between Chancellor Merkel and Obama and, unfortunately, she has never said anything critical with regards to the United States. When German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed a different view, for example, when he criticised NATO maneuvers in Eastern Europe, in those cases, of course, Mrs. Merkel always kept silent. There has always been a kind of alignment with the United States, as well as a need for American approval.

SS: According to the New York Times, Angela Merkel is the Liberal West’s Last Defender. If Trump focuses on America’s domestic issues, will Berlin become a beacon for the West? Maybe it’s time for Merkel to become the “Leader of the Free World”?

SW: I have no idea what “the free world” means. I mean, lately, America has been engaged in many military operations in violation of international law. They have not been defending freedom and democracy; they have been using their drones in war zones to kill people, which is a gross violation of international law. So I wouldn’t use such terms lightly.

I also don’t think we should be praising Angela Merkel too much. Germany today should not be pursuing hegemonic goals. On the contrary, many European countries feel that the EU nations are disconnected because Chancellor Merkel is acting on her own again and again without consulting her European partners, so they are not happy about it. So I believe it would be a mistake for Germany to pursue hegemony today.

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Germany to send modern tanks to Russian border – Defense Ministry

From RT

October 27, 2016

Leopard 2A7 © Michaela Rehle
Leopard 2A7 © Michaela Rehle / Reuters

Germany is preparing to deploy its most modern ‘Leopard 2’ tanks and more than 600 infantrymen to Lithuania as it joins NATO’s biggest military buildup since the Cold War, German media reported citing the defense ministry.

The plans to deploy not infantry and tanks to the NATO member state bordering Russia were announced by the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at a two-day meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels.

Deployment of “heavy weaponry” was then confirmed to the German daily Die Welt by a defense ministry spokesman, who said that tanks will be only part of the military equipment that Germany is going to deploy to the Baltic State.

A NATO battalion under German command will be stationed in Lithuania In February. The battalion’s personnel will amount to 1,000 soldiers, with from 450 to 650 of them coming from Germany and the rest being deployed by France, Belgium and Croatia.

According to the German daily Der Tagesspiegel daily, this will be an autonomous combat-ready unit equipped with tanks and armored vehicles that will also have snipers, engineering troops, military medics and even military police. The battalion will be fully operational starting from June 2017, German media reported.

The decision to send tanks alongside with the infantry to Lithuania should “send a clear signal” that Germany takes security concerns of the eastern NATO members “seriously,” von der Leyen said during the ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“It should send a clear signal that an attack on any NATO member state would be regarded as an attack on all 28 members [of the bloc],” she said, as cited by Der Tagesspiegel. At the same time, she stressed that the deployment of German forces on the Russian border was a “strictly measured” step that has exclusively “defensive” purposes, as reported by Die Welt.

In 2015, von der Leyen ordered 100 new Leopard 2 tanks for the German army, the Bundeswehr, “in response to the Ukrainian crisis.” Additionally, all tanks that are currently in use by German forces should be modernized starting in 2017, according to the defense ministry’s plan.

The upper threshold for the number of tanks in the German army, which was set at 225 in 2011, was then increased to 328 in line with the ministry’s new plans, Die Welt reported.

However, the plans to station tanks almost on the Russian border provoked criticism from some German politicians.

“Sending tanks to the Russian border means forgetting the history,” Sara Wagenknecht, the head of the Left Party’s faction in the German parliament, told the news agency DPA. She also denounced the move as “a step towards further escalation of relations with Russia.”

“Those who really want to preserve peace in Europe should eventually return to relying on the traditions of the policy of détente instead of continuing to support the confrontational course that is neither in German interests, nor in the interests of the EU,” she said.

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‘Insane blackmail’ or ‘historical responsibility’? Greece demands WW2 reparations from Germany

From RT

August 18, 2016

Does Germany still owe Greece billions of euros in compensation for Nazi crimes in World War Two, or should bygones be bygones since Berlin has anyway given Athens billions as part of benefits and bailout measures?

“Greece and its people will not forget the slaughter and war crimes of the Nazi army and demand tangible recognition by the German government. Greece will do whatever is necessary, mainly at a diplomatic level, and if necessary, at a legal [level],” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said earlier this week, during a visit to Kommeno to commemorate the victims of the 1943 massacre in the northwestern village, where Nazi troops killed 317 civilians.

RT sat down with political theorist Marina Prentoulis, member of Syriza, and Eike Hamer, a political commentator from Germany, to discuss whether Greece can really claim the money 70 years after the war.

Marina Prentoulis agrees it’s been a long time, but insists that one has to remember that “crimes against humanity never expire.”

Reparation – Germany’s historical responsibility for Nazi occupation 

“The people of Greece will always have to live with the memories of the Nazi occupation. I would like to say that [on August 17] in 1944 we had a very dark anniversary for Greece – the anniversary of Kokkinia, a place in the western Athens, where the same day many years ago 20,000 people were gathered at the local square – 350 of them were executed, and 800 of them were taken hostages, and they were tortured by the Nazi army and the Gestapo,” she said.

Eike Hamer argues, though, that the issue of fairness here is not the point, as “there is hardly any other country that has got as much money from Germany as Greece.”  He recalled that back in 1960, West Germany paid 115 million deutsche marks to Greece as compensation for Nazi war crimes. Now the main point is to “live together again in peace and with respect to each other,” he says.

That won’t be possible if one side “comes with old stories [over and over] again to blackmail the other one and to demand any money or whatever from them,” Hamer says. “We’re comrades in the EU, and this is insane to make a break through the population, by demanding such insane things.”

Prentoulis agrees that living in peace is crucial, but, she insists, “this is why we have a historical responsibility to the people of Europe to recognize how Greece was devastated by the Nazi occupation.”

As for the 1960 payment, she said, “it was only a fraction of the money that they were supposed to give to Greece.”

“And now it is time to recognize that as comrades and for the good of the whole of Europe in order to be able to put this story in history and remember the horrific things that happened to Greece with not wanting to do anything like that again in the future; for peace and prosperity of Europe,” said Prentoulis.

No other country in the world pays Greece as much as Germany 

Since the 1960 compensation, Hamer argues, Greece has enjoyed advantages worth “a couple of hundred billion” euros. He referred to low interest rates, European – “mainly German” – aid and other indirect payments, including advantages Greece received because of having “many contracts” with Germany.

“There is no other country in the world paying Greece that much as Germany through the EU, through other things,” he said.

“It is funny that you can pay Greece as much money as you want and the elites divide this money amongst each other, take the money away, move to London, or whatever. Now, when the people are left behind from their own elites, they are demanding more money from Germany,” Hamer said, adding that “this is not fair.”

Prentoulis insists that it’s Greece that is being treated unfairly.

“Greece is getting one of the worst treatments across the Eurozone,” she said adding that economic issues and war reparation payment should be differentiated.

“But if you want to talk about the situation in Greece now, I have to remind you again about the 1953 London Debt Agreement, when a lot of countries, including Greece, decided to cut the debt of the German state by half and connect their repayment with a prosperity of the German state. This was an act of good will from the people of Europe,” she said.

Greece, however, is being treated differently now, says Prentoulis.

“The Greek people have been totally brought to the knees, once again because of austerity, because of the decisions of the conservative government of the EU, including the German one, and they are going on suffering since the crisis of 2008. You remember what happened with the Greek negotiations, and the whole Europe has been witnessing that,” she said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/356398-greece-reparations-eu-germany-ww2/