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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Humvee leads unmarked convoy of military equipment rolling across Germany

From Fort Russ

“US military Humvee on the A4 near Dresden. No markings at all”
License plate? Unit markings? Who needs them?

German RT February 22, 2016

Translated from German by Tom Winter

Eyewitness to German RT: Military column of about 50 unmarked heavy trucks under way near Dresden

A motorist traveling on business on the A4 towards Görlitz has turned to RT to report that he had spotted a military convoy February 20, consisting of 50 trucks, all covered with tarpaulins and without any military badges. 

According to his statements, the tires of military transport vehicles were pressed, indicating heavy loading. At the same time, the US Army has announced that it is providing 5000 tons of ammunition to Germany in February.

The eyewitness, who turned to German RT and reported his observation with documenting photographs, introduced himself as a former NVA officer and was noticeably distressed when talking to RT:
“I am contacting you because I am afraid for the future of my children, I have two sons of military service age, and when I watch a NATO transport of this scale in eastern Germany, it makes me enormously worried.”

He also stressed that he in contrast to the “ongoing campaign against Russia,” his circle of acquaintances rather have an attitude of friendship towards Russia.

The fact that the lead vehicle is a Humvee points to the US Army. However, it is uncommon for US military transport to drive without any form of identification across German territory.

One motivation for the complete absence of any military badging could may lie in circumventing Article 5, paragraph 3 of the Two Plus Four Treaty. This Article provides, “that foreign military forces and atomic weapons or their carriers, can not be stationed nor conveyed in this part of Germany” (the five new federal states)

The observation of the eye-witness, whose name and contact information we have at German RT, and that he, for understandable cause does not want published, coincides with the statement of US Army-Europe of February 20:
“In the largest single supply of ammunition of the decade, the 21st Logistics Command has delivered more than 5,000 tons of ammunition to the ‘European ammunition depot’ in Miesau [Germany] between 17-18 February.”

Thus the announcement on the official website of the US Army. The Chief of Staff of the US Logistics Command, Colonel Matthew Redding, continues in a presser:
“This vital supply will help us continue to support the NATO alliance. The fact that this is the largest single delivery of the last decade, demonstrates our undiminished commitment to the defense of our allies.”

Redding explained also that the storage of such a large amount of ammunition will allow the US and NATO “to provide ammunition for NATO operations on very short notice.” The Chief of Staff concluded by saying: “All these efforts pay off, if it comes to units needing ammunition right now, and we are able to deliver immediately” The ammunition was loaded in a total of 415 shipping containers and initially stored in Rhineland-Palatinate Miesau. The US military maintains near Miesau (“Miesau Am Panzergraben”*) the Miesau Army Depot, the largest ammunition depot outside the United States and the largest in Germany.

Ammunition should be available, among other things, for the upcoming 2016 NATO-United maneuvers “Anaconda” scheduled for June.

‘”Road to ANACONDA” Preparations base for the grand NATO manoeuvres in Poland for June, 2016’  Photo credit: US-Army Europe

At the military exercise over 25,000 soldiers from 24 countries will take part, including the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Hungary, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. Since the merger by referendum of Crimea with Russia in 2014, NATO has greatly expanded its military maneuver activities in Europe. The biggest NATO exercises in 2015, called “Trident Juncture,” included 36,000 soldiers, 60 warships and 200 warplanes from 30 different countries. Moscow has repeatedly asked NATO to stop its expansion into Eastern Europe as once agreed and has repeatedly stressed that such steps have the potential to undermine the security of all of Europe.
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*The name of a German town is often specified by naming the river alongside it, i.e. “Aldingen Am Neckar,” Aldingen-on-the-Neckar. Here it is Miesau, humorously called “Miesau on the tank graveyard.”

American football Super Bowl promotes war and the American war industry

By David Swanson, teleSUR
February 6, 2016

Super Bowl 50 will be the first National Football League championship to happen since it was reported that much of the pro-military hoopla at football games, the honoring of troops and glorifying of wars that most people had assumed was voluntary or part of a marketing scheme for the NFL, has actually been a money-making scheme for the NFL. The U.S. military has been dumping millions of our dollars, part of a recruitment and advertising budget that’s in the billions, into paying the NFL to publicly display love for soldiers and weaponry.

Of course, the NFL may in fact really truly love the military, just as it may love the singers it permits to sing at the Super Bowl halftime show, but it makes them pay for the privilege too. And why shouldn’t the military pay the football league to hype its heroism? It pays damn near everybody else. At $2.8 billion a year on recruiting some 240,000 “volunteers,” that’s roughly $11,600 per recruit. That’s not, of course, the trillion with a T kind of spending it takes to run the military for a year; that’s just the spending to gently persuade each “volunteer” to join up. The biggest military “service” ad buyer in the sports world is the National Guard. The ads often depict humanitarian rescue missions. Recruiters often tell tall tales of “non-deployment” positions followed by free college. But it seems to me that the $11,600 would have gone a long way toward paying for a year in college! And, in fact, people who have that money for college are far less likely to be recruited.

Despite showing zero interest in signing up for wars, and despite the permanent presence of wars to sign up for, 44 percent of U.S. Americans tell the Gallup polling company that they “would” fight in a war, yet don’t. That’s at least 100 million new recruits. Luckily for them and the world, telling a pollster something doesn’t require follow through, but it might suggest why football fans tolerate and even celebrate military national anthems and troop-hyping hoopla at every turn. They think of themselves as willing warriors who just happen to be too busy at the moment. As they identify with their NFL team, making remarks such as “We just scored,” while firmly seated on their most precious assets, football fans also identify with their team on the imagined battlefield of war.

The NFL website says: “For decades the NFL and the military have had a close relationship at the Super Bowl, the most watched program year-to-year throughout the United States. In front of more than 160 million viewers, the NFL salutes the military with a unique array of in-game celebrations including the presentation of colors, on-field guests, pre-game ceremonies and stadium flyovers. During Super Bowl XLIX week [last year], the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project invited veterans to attend the Salute to Service: Officiating 101 Clinic at NFL Experience Engineered by GMC [double payment? ka-ching!] in Arizona. …”

Pat Tillman, still promoted on the NFL website, and eponym of the Pat Tillman Foundation, is of course the one NFL player who gave up a giant football contract to join the military. What the Foundation won’t tell you is that Tillman, as is quite common, ceased believing what the ads and recruiters had told him. On September 25, 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tillman had become critical of the Iraq war and had scheduled a meeting with the prominent war critic Noam Chomsky to take place when he returned from Afghanistan, all information that Tillman’s mother and Chomsky later confirmed. Tillman couldn’t confirm it because he had died in Afghanistan in 2004 from three bullets to the forehead at short range, bullets shot by an American. The White House and the military knew Tillman had died from so-called friendly fire, but they falsely told the media he’d died in a hostile exchange. Senior Army commanders knew the facts and yet approved awarding Tillman a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion, all based on his having died fighting the “enemy.” Clearly the military wants a connection to football and is willing to lie as well as to pay for it. The Pat Tillman Foundation mis-uses a dead man’s name to play on and prey on the mutual interest of football and the military in being connected to each other.

Those on whom the military’s advertising succeeds will not typically die from friendly fire. Nor will they die from enemy fire. The number one killer of members of the U.S. military, reported yet again for another year this week, is suicide. And that’s not even counting later suicides by veterans. Every TV pundit and presidential debate moderator, and perhaps even a Super Bowl 50 announcer or two, tends to talk about the military’s answer for ISIS. What is its answer for people being stupidly ordered into such horrific hell that they won’t want to live anymore?

It’s in the ads

At least as big a focus of the Super Bowl as the game itself is the advertising. One particularly disturbing ad planned for Super Bowl 50 is an ad for a war video game. The U.S. military has long funded war video games and viewed them as recruiting tools. In this ad Arnold Schwarzenegger shows what fun it is to shoot people and blow up buildings on the game, while outside of the game people are tackling him more or less as in a football game. Nothing here is remotely warlike in a realistic sense. For that I recommend playing with PTSD Action Man instead. But it does advance the equation of sport with war — something both the NFL and the military clearly desire.

An ad last year from Northrop Grumman, which has its own “Military Bowl,” was no less disturbing. Two years ago an ad that appeared to be for the military until the final seconds turned out to be for Jeeps. There was another ad that year for Budweiser beer with which one commentator found legal concerns:

“First, there’s a violation of the military’s ethics regulations, which explicitly state that Department of Defense personnel cannot ‘suggest official endorsement or preferential treatment’ of any ‘non-Federal entity, event, product, service, or enterprise. … Under this regulation, the Army cannot legally endorse Budweiser, nor allow its active-duty personnel to participate in their ads (let alone wear their uniforms), any more than the Army can endorse Gatorade or Nike.”

Two serious issues with this. One: the military routinely endorses and promotes the NFL. Two: despite my deep-seated opposition to the very existence of an institution of mass murder, and my clear understanding of what it wants out of advertisements (whether by itself or by a car or beer company), I can’t help getting sucked into the emotion. The technique of this sort of propaganda (here’s another ad) is very high level. The rising music. The facial expressions. The gestures. The build up of tension. The outpouring of simulated love. You’d have to be a monster not to fall for this poison. And it permeates the world of millions of wonderful young people who deserve better.

It’s in the stadium

If you get past the commercials, there’s the problem of the stadium for Super Bowl 50, unlike most stadiums for most sports events, being conspicuously “protected” by the military and militarized police, including with military helicopters and jets that will shoot down any drones and “intercept” any planes. Ruining the pretense that this is actually for the purpose of protecting anyone, military jets will show off by flying over the stadium, as in past years, when they have even done it over stadiums covered by domes.

The idea that there is anything questionable about coating a sporting event in military promotion is the furthest thing from the minds of most viewers of the Super Bowl. That the military’s purpose is to kill and destroy, that it’s recent major wars have eventually been opposed as bad decisions from the start by a majority of Americans, just doesn’t enter into it. On the contrary, the military publicly questions whether it should be associating with a sports league whose players hit their wives and girlfriends too much.

My point is not that assault is acceptable, but that murder isn’t. The progressive view of the Super Bowl in the United States will question the racism directed at a black quarterback, the concussions of a violent sport that damages the brains of too many of its players (and perhaps even the recruitment of new players from the far reaches of the empire to take their place), sexist treatment of cheerleaders or women in commercials, and perhaps even the disgusting materialism of some of the commercials. But not the militarism. The announcers will thank “the troops” for watching from “over 175 countries” and nobody will pause, set down their beer and dead animal flesh and ask whether 174 countries might not be enough to have U.S. troops in right now.

The idea that the Super Bowl promotes is that war is more or less like football, only better. I was happy to help get a TV show canceled that turned war into a reality game. There is still some resistance to that idea that can be tapped in the U.S. public. But I suspect it is eroding.

The NFL doesn’t just want the military’s (our) money. It wants the patriotism, the nationalism, the fervent blind loyalty, the unthinking passion, the personal identification, a love for the players to match love of troops — and with similar willingness to throw them under a bus.

The military doesn’t just want the sheer numbers of viewers attracted to the Super Bowl. It wants wars imagined as sporting events between teams, rather than horrific crimes perpetrated on people in their homes and villages. It wants us thinking of Afghanistan not as a 15-year disaster, murder-spree, and counter-productive SNAFU, but as a competition gone into double quadruple overtime despite the visiting team being down 84 points and attempting an impossible comeback. The military wants chants of “USA!” that fill a stadium. It wants role models and heroes and local connections to potential recruits. It wants kids who can’t make it to the pros in football or another sport to think they’ve got the inside track to something even better and more meaningful.

I really wish they did.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5045

“Constant Conflict”: an inside look at U.S. policy

This article by Ralph Peters is quoted in the previous article on Syria
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-and-conspiracy-theories-it-is-a-conspiracy/29596
A look behind the philosophy and practice of Americas push for domination of the world’s economy and culture.

From Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14: US Army War College

Constant Conflict
by Major Ralph Peters

US Army War College Quarterly

There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.

We have entered an age of constant conflict. Information is at once our core commodity and the most destabilizing factor of our time. Until now, history has been a quest to acquire information; today, the challenge lies in managing information. Those of us who can sort, digest, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge soar–professionally, financially, politically, militarily, and socially. We, the winners, are a minority.

For the world masses, devastated by information they cannot manage or effectively interpret, life is “nasty, brutish . . . and short-circuited.” The general pace of change is overwhelming, and information is both the motor and signifier of change. Those humans, in every country and region, who cannot understand the new world, or who cannot profit from its uncertainties, or who cannot reconcile themselves to its dynamics, will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States. We are entering a new American century, in which we will become still wealthier, culturally more lethal, and increasingly powerful. We will excite hatreds without precedent.

We live in an age of multiple truths. He who warns of the “clash of civilizations” is incontestably right; simultaneously, we shall see higher levels of constructive trafficking between civilizations than ever before. The future is bright–and it is also very dark. More men and women will enjoy health and prosperity than ever before, yet more will live in poverty or tumult, if only because of the ferocity of demographics. There will be more democracy–that deft liberal form of imperialism–and greater popular refusal of democracy. One of the defining bifurcations of the future will be the conflict between information masters and information victims.

In the past, information empowerment was largely a matter of insider and outsider, as elementary as the division of society into the literate and illiterate. While superior information–often embodied in military technology–killed throughout history, its effects tended to be politically decisive but not personally intrusive (once the raping and pillaging were done). Technology was more apt to batter down the city gates than to change the nature of the city. The rise of the modern West broke the pattern. Whether speaking of the dispossessions and dislocations caused in Europe through the introduction of machine-driven production or elsewhere by the great age of European imperialism, an explosion of disorienting information intruded ever further into Braudel’s “structures of everyday life.” Historically, ignorance was bliss. Today, ignorance is no longer possible, only error.

The contemporary expansion of available information is immeasurable, uncontainable, and destructive to individuals and entire cultures unable to master it. The radical fundamentalists–the bomber in Jerusalem or Oklahoma City, the moral terrorist on the right or the dictatorial multiculturalist on the left–are all brothers and sisters, all threatened by change, terrified of the future, and alienated by information they cannot reconcile with their lives or ambitions. They ache to return to a golden age that never existed, or to create a paradise of their own restrictive design. They no longer understand the world, and their fear is volatile.

Information destroys traditional jobs and traditional cultures; it seduces, betrays, yet remains invulnerable. How can you counterattack the information others have turned upon you? There is no effective option other than competitive performance. For those individuals and cultures that cannot join or compete with our information empire, there is only inevitable failure (of note, the internet is to the techno-capable disaffected what the United Nations is to marginal states: it offers the illusion of empowerment and community). The attempt of the Iranian mullahs to secede from modernity has failed, although a turbaned corpse still stumbles about the neighborhood. Information, from the internet to rock videos, will not be contained, and fundamentalism cannot control its children. Our victims volunteer.

These noncompetitive cultures, such as that of Arabo-Persian Islam or the rejectionist segment of our own population, are enraged. Their cultures are under assault; their cherished values have proven dysfunctional, and the successful move on without them. The laid-off blue-collar worker in America and the Taliban militiaman in Afghanistan are brothers in suffering.

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Surveillance Valley: Why Google is eager to align itself with America’s military-industrial complex

It is surprising how many people still use gmail, including those involved in community advocacy and social and environmental issues. All data can be taken, and all email recipients recorded with data archives created. This puts everyone at such risk.

Other writers have reported how the U.S. government sends “relevant” information to private companies and industries, like the fracking industry, to thwart protests, etc. There are many other email services, including encrypted ones like Start Mail, that are far better choices.

By Yasha Levine / AlterNet
March 1, 2015

Is it wise for us to hand over the contents of our private lives to private companies?

The following is an excerpt from Yasha Levine’s ongoing investigative project, Surveillance Valley, which you can help support on KickStarter.

Oakland, California: On February 18, 2014, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists packed Oakland’s city hall.

It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. The people were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight out of Mission Impossible — a federally funded project that linking up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.

Residents’ anger at the fusion surveillance center was intensified by a set of internal documents showing that city officials were more interested in using the surveillance center monitor political protests rather than fighting crime: keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and tracking union organizing that might shut down the Port of Oakland. It was an incendiary find — especially in Oakland, a city with a large marginalized black population, a strong union presence and a long, ugly history of police brutality aimed at minority groups and political activists.

But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents was another disturbing detail. Emails that showed Google — the largest and most powerful corporation in Silicon Valley — was among several other defense contractors vying for a piece of Oakland’s $11 million surveillance contract. What was Google doing there? What could a company known for superior search and cute doodles offer a controversial surveillance center?

Turns out, a lot.

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