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Luxembourg Prime Minister Resigns: Luxembourg Gladio Veteran Involved in Bugging Scandal

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COMMENT: For decades, we’ve spoken of the “Strategy of Tension”–the program of terrorism designed to discredit and criminalize opposition political forces and justify the imposition of anti-democratic statutes.

Eventually, the Italian “Strategy of Tension”Gladio— was revealed as part of a NATO program called “Stay  Behind,” through which security services used fascist cadres to implement the terror. (The cadres were ostensibly designed to foster guerilla-style resistance in case of a successful Soviet invasion or communist takeover in those countries.)

In FTR #44, we analyzed Stay Behind/Gladio’s origins with Nazi/BND spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and the ODESSA postwar SS network.

Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker was forced to resign this past week, due to a scandal in which Marco Mille, that country’s intelligence chief, secretly recorded a conversation with Juncker about Stay Behind/Gladio. Implicating the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg in the scandal, Mille was himself a participant in Gladio/Stay Behind.

We note several things in connection with this scandal:

  • Luxembourg’s banking sector is very large with regard to its overall economy, a source of concern and irritation to Germany and France.
  • Luxembourg’s foreign minister criticized Germany’s handling of the eurozone crisis as implementing “hegemony” over Europe.
  • After resigning as the head of Luxembourg’s intelligence service, Marco Mille became chief of security for Siemens, one of Germany’s core corporations and an entity inextricably linked with the BND and the Underground Reich.
  • Might Mille’s subterfuge and subsequent employment by Siemens be related to Luxembourg’s large financial sector and future attempts at reining it in, or emptying its coffers, a la Cyprus?

“Goodbye Mr. Euro? Jean-Claude Juncker May Be Back Soon” by Hans-Jürgen Schlamp; Der Spiegel; 7/11/2013.

EXCERPT: Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg and Europe’s longest-serving leader, stepped down on Wednesday over his implication in a spying scandal. But both his friends and his adversaries believe a comeback is likely. . . .

. . . .In the 1980s, Luxembourg spies were involved in a puzzling series of bombings, the circumstances of which remain unclear today. Together with military and intelligence agents from multiple European countries, they were part of Operation Gladio, a clandestine illegal paramilitary organization. They worked as a parallel police force within the country that did what they liked and spied on whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Even the prime minister, their constitutionally defined boss, could not rein them in.

According to the parliamentary report, intelligence chief Marco Mille reported to Juncker in January 2007 wearing a special high-tech wristwatch. It recorded the entire talk. The matter was extremely tricky because the conversation alluded to the possible involvement of the Grand Ducal family. But Juncker didn’t bring it to their attention until the end of 2008. Even then he didn’t take drastic measures. Mille remained in office until 2010, when he became head of security for Siemens. . . .

Lux­em­bourg Min­is­ter Says Ger­many Seeks Euro Zone “Hegemony” by Andreas Rinke; Reuters; 3/26/2013.

EXCERPT: Luxembourg’s for­eign min­is­ter accused Ger­many on Tues­day of “striv­ing for hege­mony” in the euro zone by telling Cyprus what busi­ness model it should pursue.

Like Cyprus, Lux­em­bourg has a large finan­cial sec­tor, whose com­par­a­tively light-touch tax and reg­u­la­tory regime has long irked its much big­ger neigh­bours Ger­many and France.

Ger­many, the Euro­pean Union’s biggest and most pow­er­ful econ­omy, had insisted that wealthy depos­i­tors in Cyprus’s banks con­tribute to the island’s bailout and said the cri­sis has killed a “busi­ness model” based on low taxes and attract­ing large for­eign deposits.

“Ger­many does not have the right to decide on the busi­ness model for other coun­tries in the EU,” For­eign Min­is­ter Jean Assel­born told Reuters. “It must not be the case that under the cover of finan­cially tech­ni­cal issues other coun­tries are choked.”

“It can­not be that Ger­many, France and Britain say ‘we need finan­cial cen­tres in these three big coun­tries and oth­ers must stop’.”

That was against the inter­nal mar­ket and Euro­pean sol­i­dar­ity, and “striv­ing for hege­mony which is wrong and un-European,” he said. . . .

But crit­i­cism from core north­ern states such as Lux­em­bourg — a founder mem­ber of the EU and euro zone — is less common.

Assel­born said it was cru­cial that smaller EU states in par­tic­u­lar were allowed to develop cer­tain eco­nomic niches.

Ger­many should also keep in mind it was a prime ben­e­fi­ciary of the euro zone cri­sis because its bor­row­ing costs have plunged as ner­vous investors seek safe havens, Assel­born added. . . .

Discussion

2 comments for “Luxembourg Prime Minister Resigns: Luxembourg Gladio Veteran Involved in Bugging Scandal”

  1. This is kind of interesting: According to a late 2011 report in the German magazine Focus on the US spying on the BND, it sounds like the CIA’s spying against the BND actually intensified following German unification. The report claims that the targets were BND agents with a Nazi or Communist pasts and the CIA verified that at least two BND agents that served in the SS had joined “a NATO sabotage unit”. It’s not surprising, but still interesting:

    Analysis: United States and Germany spy on each other

    October 26, 2011 by Joseph Fitsanakis

    By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
    Newly released documents reveal that the Central Intelligence Agency has maintained an active program of espionage against Germany in the post-Cold War era, and experts say that Germany reciprocates the ‘favor’. According to an article in the latest issue of German newsmagazine Focus, the US intelligence community, led by the CIA, has been keeping tabs on Germany’s intelligence agencies since the 1950s, and continues to do so today. The magazine’s editors say they are in possession of internal government documents, which describe constant CIA monitoring on the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s main external intelligence agency. The CIA’s spying extends to Germany’s counterintelligence agency, known as the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). CIA operations against the Office have reportedly included the interception of telephone calls, some of which involved high-level conversations between German and British or French intelligence officials. Focus claims that CIA spying against the BND actually intensified following German reunification in 1990, as the American agency kept tabs on German intelligence officers with former Nazi or communist past. According to one report, the CIA was able to verify that at least two BND officers with service in the Nazi SS had joined a NATO sabotage unit. The magazine spoke to an unnamed former BND counterintelligence officer, who said he was not in the least surprised by the revelations. Commenting yesterday on the Focus report, Washington-based reporter Jeff Stein argued that a little friendly spying is to be expected among allied intelligence services. The veteran intelligence correspondent spoke to an unnamed former CIA officer, who told him that the espionage between Washington and Berlin has not been “a one-way street” —the BND also spies on the CIA and other American intelligence agencies. Stein notes that Germany “has always fielded a robust team of agents to keep track of American, as well as other foreign spies running around in their backyard”. Moreover, he says, while American and German agencies tend to cooperate on some levels, they still tend to keep “secrets from each other”. Why, then, have no German spies been arrested by the FBI and deported from the United States, or vice-versa? Because, he says, “among friends, some things are best handled discreetly”.

    Here’s another interesting report from late 2011 related to the history of ex-Nazis serving in the BND. It’s history that’s a little less clear and little more shredded:

    Der Spiegel
    Obscuring the Past: Intelligence Agency Destroyed Files on Former SS Members

    By Klaus Wiegrefe

    Historians conducting an internal study of ties between employees of the German foreign intelligence agency and the Third Reich have made a shocking discovery. In 2007, the BND destroyed personnel files of employees who had once been members of the SS and the Gestapo.

    November 30, 2011 – 12:00 PM

    Preparations have already been made for Ernst Uhrlau’s retirement party next Wednesday when he steps down from his post as the head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, on his 65th birthday. The office of the chancellor has selected a posh location in Berlin for his farewell party and Angela Merkel herself is expected to attend. Uhrlau, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), will be turning over his post to Gerhard Schindler, a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party.

    At events like this, the successes of the person retiring are usually celebrated. In Uhrlau’s case, topping the list are his efforts to review the problematic history of the BND’s creation after World War II. It has long been known that around 10 percent of the employees at the BND and its predecessor organization once served under SS chief Heinrich Himmler in Nazi Germany. In 2011, Uhrlau appointed an independent commission of historians to research the agency’s Nazi roots.

    Now, only one week before Uhrlau’s retirement, the commission has uncovered what is a true historical scandal. The researchers have found that the BND destroyed the personnel files of around 250 BND officials in 2007. The agency has confirmed that this happened.

    The commission claims that the destroyed documents include papers on people who were “in significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD (the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.” They added that some of the individuals had even been investigated after 1945 for possible war crimes. Historian Klaus-Dietmar Henke, spokesman for the commission, told SPIEGEL ONLINE he was “somewhat stunned” by the occurrence.

    Did Agency Employees Seek to Sabotage Investigation?

    The incident inevitably raises suspicions that agency employees have deliberately tried to obstruct Uhrlau’s efforts to investigate the organization’s history. The historical commission had not yet been appointed at the time of the documents’ destruction, but Uhrlau had already announced that he planned to look into his agency’s Nazi past.

    It is no secret that some people within the BND are unhappy about Uhrlau’s project. Some employees are fundamentally opposed to the agency shedding light on its own past. Others are worried about the reputations of their own families — for many years, the BND deliberately recruited new staff from among the relatives of existing BND employees.

    Within the BND, a working group headed by Bodo Hechelhammer is responsible for cooperation with the historical commission. The group is currently trying to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the documents. Hechelhammer told SPIEGEL ONLINE that he regretted the loss of the documents.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 6, 2013, 2:23 pm
  2. The articles predicting a Juncker comeback in the wake of his resignation following the spying scandal might turn out to have been right. Juncker just got another step closer to becoming President of the European Commission:

    Merkel backs Juncker to lead conservatives in EU elections

    By Gernot Heller

    BERLIN Thu Feb 6, 2014 12:04pm EST

    (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel threw her weight behind Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday as the leading conservative candidate in May’s European Parliament elections, a potential springboard to head the European Commission.

    It was her first public endorsement of the veteran former prime minister and ex-chairman of euro zone finance ministers and it appeared to dim the prospects of French European Commissioner Michel Barnier, the only other declared candidate.

    As leader of Europe’s biggest economy and most powerful conservative party, Merkel wields strong influence in the center-right European People’s Party (EPP).

    “It is no secret that I have a lot of sympathy for Jean-Claude Juncker,” she said at a joint news conference with new Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who ousted Juncker after a general election last October.

    While stopping short of explicitly backing Juncker to head the EU executive, the chancellor said the immediate task was to find someone to lead European conservatives in the elections who could move up to become Commission president.

    Merkel added that support from his own country was a “very important message”.

    “If Mr Juncker can become Commission president, we will support this candidacy,” Bettel told reporters.

    A new Commission chief, in charge of proposing and enforcing regulations for some 500 million Europeans, will take office for five years from November, succeeding Portugal’s Jose Manuel Barroso who has led the institution since 2004.

    Whichever group wins the most seats in the May 22-25 elections is expected to lay claim to the Commission presidency, although it is EU leaders who propose a candidate under treaty rules, and parliament votes on their nominee.

    The European legislature has gained an expanded role in policy making under the 2009 Lisbon treaty.

    Juncker, who was prime minister for 19 years, is a European federalist who wants a bigger say for the Commission. He was a key broker in Europe’s debt crisis, leading the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers until early last year.

    However, his reputation has been tarnished by a spying scandal in Luxembourg and his Eurogroup successor, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, told Dutch TV last month that Juncker drank and smoked heavily during crisis meetings.

    “I would like to be asked about politics and not about my alcohol problem which I don’t have,” Juncker responded in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine this week.

    His coalition government collapsed last year when the Socialists quit, blaming him for failing to curb abuses of power by the secret service.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 6, 2014, 9:41 am

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