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FTR #609 Update on Germany

Record­ed Sep­tem­ber 2, 2007
MP3: 30-Minute Seg­ment [1]

NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #608 and FTR #609 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

Updat­ing Mr. Emory’s long-run­ning cov­er­age of mat­ters Ger­man, this broad­cast begins by exam­in­ing the sever­i­ty of the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial cri­sis for Ger­man finan­cial insti­tu­tions. The sit­u­a­tion is so per­ilous that Ger­man bank­ing exec­u­tives have adopt­ed a self-enforced code of silence, lest their pub­lic pro­nounce­ments lead to “uncer­tain­ty.” In spite of pub­lic pro­nounce­ments that the sub­prime mort­gage in the U.S. would not affect Ger­man lend­ing insti­tu­tions, two insti­tu­tions have already been bailed out. After high­light­ing a new book doc­u­ment­ing how the Argentine/German coop­er­a­tion in laun­der­ing Ger­man World War II loot led direct­ly to the Ger­man “eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle” after the con­flict, the broad­cast sets forth Germany’s attempts at oppos­ing its will on oth­er coun­tries in Europe. Even as it demands that oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries defer to Germany’s will on secu­ri­ty mat­ters, Ger­many is dis­re­gard­ing EU pol­i­cy on immi­gra­tion. Assess­ing some of Germany’s hand­i­work, the broad­cast con­cludes with a look at the revival of World War II-era fas­cism in the Croa­t­ian state mid­wived by Ger­many.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Over­pric­ing by Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions as part of the Argen­tine mon­ey-laun­der­ing oper­a­tion; the Argen­tine government’s destruc­tion of doc­u­ments that might have dis­closed the Ger­man flight-cap­i­tal pro­gram; the man­ner in which the dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing the Argentine/German mon­ey laun­der­ing oper­a­tion sup­ple­ment Paul Manning’s Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile [3]; Germany’s impo­si­tion of total hege­mo­ny over oth­er EU states with regard to police pow­ers; Germany’s coop­er­a­tion with some of the most mur­der­ous of African coun­tries on refugee pol­i­cy; Croa­t­ian rock fans’ use of the Nazi salute at a nation­al­ly-broad­cast con­cert.

1. The broad­cast begins with a Euro­pean take on the grow­ing inter­na­tion­al finan­cial cri­sis deriv­ing from the US sub­prime mort­gage cri­sis. Although glob­al finan­cial author­i­ties gen­er­al­ly speak reas­sur­ing­ly of the cri­sis, the self-enforced silence of the Ger­man bank­ing indus­try is trou­bling. “Ger­man banks, locked in a cri­sis over the fall­out from volatile cred­it mar­kets, have adopt­ed a curi­ous strat­e­gy over their increas­ing image prob­lem: silence. After the head of a region­al bank warned that the sit­u­a­tion of Ger­man banks was crit­i­cal as some for­eign banks were refus­ing to lend to them, top exec­u­tives at oth­er finan­cial insti­tu­tions have decid­ed to gag them­selves. Giv­en the sit­u­a­tion in the finan­cial mar­kets, the main com­mer­cial banks have decid­ed to refrain from com­ment­ing in pub­lic on the gen­er­al mar­ket sit­u­a­tion, said an e‑mail from the head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Dres­d­ner Bank to jour­nal­ists to explain why its chief exec­u­tive was can­cel­ing a meet­ing. The asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man banks, the BdB, which rep­re­sents the main com­mer­cial insti­tu­tions, was keen to under­line that there was no for­mal ban on exec­u­tives speak­ing out. But an offi­cial said: The banks have said they don’t want to cause any more uncer­tain­ty by speak­ing out. . . .”
(“Ger­man Banks Remain Silent after Warn­ing” by Richard Milne; Finan­cial Times; 8/27/2007.) [4]

2. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is inves­ti­gat­ing the col­lapse of two finan­cial insti­tu­tions as a result of the cri­sis that oth­er bankers won’t dis­cuss for fear that it might “cause uncer­tain­ty.” “The Ger­man gov­ern­ment will launch an inquiry into Bafin, the Ger­man finan­cial ser­vices reg­u­la­tor, amid accu­sa­tions that the watch­dog took too long to address crises at two banks that had to be bailed out. Torsten Albig, a spokesman for the finance min­istry, which over­sees Bafin, said on Mon­day, the min­istry would look into what rea­sons Bafin had to take, or not take, action. The recent tur­moil in the glob­al cred­it mar­kets, trig­gered by a weak­en­ing US mort­gage mar­ket, has hit Ger­many’s finan­cial sec­tor par­tic­u­lar­ly hard. In the past month, IKB, a small com­pa­ny lender, and Sach­sen LB, the pub­lic Lan­des­bank, had to be res­cued after they were unable to pro­vide cred­it facil­i­ties they had pledged to their own invest­ment funds. Both banks had promised back-up cred­it facil­i­ties that far exceed­ed their own size, mak­ing it high­ly unlike­ly they could pro­vide the funds when prompt­ed. The facil­i­ties were designed legal­ly to avoid reg­u­la­to­ry lim­its on cred­it expo­sure. . . .”
(“Watch­dog Faces Berlin Inquiry on Banks Bail-out” by Bertrand Benoit and Ivar Simensen; Finan­cial Times; 8/28/2007.) [5]

3. Next, the pro­gram sets forth a recent­ly pub­lished inves­ti­ga­tion of the Argen­tine role in the Nazi flight cap­i­tal pro­gram that took place near the end of and after World War II. A key ele­ment of that under­tak­ing was a mon­ey-laun­der­ing pro­gram real­ized through coop­er­a­tion of Ger­man and Argen­tine cor­po­ra­tions under the dic­ta­tor­ship of Juan Per­on. (For more about the Nazi flight cap­i­tal pro­gram, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 305 [6], 604 [7]. Above all, inter­est­ed lis­ten­ers should down­load and read Paul Manning’s Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile [3], avail­able on the Spit­fire web­site.). The cap­i­tal that was secret­ed abroad under the Bor­mann pro­gram pro­vid­ed the foun­da­tion for the Ger­man eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle of the post­war peri­od. “That scores of fugi­tive Nazis found their way to Argenti­na after World War II, aid­ed and abet­ted by Gen. Juan D. Perón, is no secret. But accord­ing to a book just pub­lished here that draws exten­sive­ly on archival mate­r­i­al only now being made avail­able to researchers, his gov­ern­ment also offered a haven for the prof­its of Ger­man com­pa­nies that had been part of the Nazi war machine and whose assets the vic­to­ri­ous Allies would oth­er­wise have seized. In The Ger­man Con­nec­tion: The Laun­der­ing of Nazi Mon­ey in Argenti­na, Gaby Weber, a Ger­man jour­nal­ist, argues that the Perón dic­ta­tor­ship spon­sored an oper­a­tion to move illic­it­ly obtained wealth to Argenti­na and then back to Ger­many. For near­ly a decade, her book asserts, Ger­man-made cars, trucks, bus­es and even the machin­ery for entire fac­to­ries flowed into Argenti­na, paid for with dol­lars that were then used to help finance the Ger­man eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle. . . .”
(“Half-Cen­tu­ry Lat­er, a New Look at Argen­tine-Nazi Ties” by Lar­ry Rohter; The New York Times; 4/4/2007.) [8]

4. Qui­et­ly, out of the pub­lic spot­light, Ger­many has been increas­ing its hege­mo­ny over the oth­er mem­ber states of the EU. There has been wide­spread pub­lic­i­ty over Amer­i­can abus­es com­mit­ted under the “War on Ter­ror,” but very lit­tle on the Ger­man imple­men­ta­tion of inves­tiga­tive and police hege­mo­ny over the EU’s oth­er mem­ber states. “In spite of the mas­sive resis­tance put up by sev­er­al EU mem­ber states, the Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter is demand­ing that a restric­tion on rights of nation­al sov­er­eign­ty in the field of secu­ri­ty be applied through­out the EU. Fol­low­ing a meet­ing with his EU coun­ter­parts, Wolf­gang Schäu­ble announced that Ger­many intends to obtain access to police data of all EU mem­ber states. Berlin can already take sov­er­eign action in some of its neigh­bor­ing states. The legal basis for this was pro­vid­ed by the Prüm Treaty, signed two years ago by a group of EU pio­neers. Using its EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, Berlin is plan­ning to ini­ti­ate the incor­po­ra­tion of the Prüm Treaty into the EU’s legal frame­work. This Treaty has come under crit­i­cism in Ger­many because of deficits in the pro­tec­tion of data pri­va­cy and its lack of demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol. The attempt to sub­vert legit­i­mate resis­tance in the oth­er coun­tries, through reach­ing a spe­cial agree­ment with some of the mem­ber states, is being described in the Ger­man press as a nov­el­ty in the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion process. It is being voiced, that this is open­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of enforc­ing numer­ous legal norms, in spite of their far reach­ing con­se­quences, with­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the entire EU. Because of its dom­i­nat­ing posi­tion, Ger­many can set its own norms. Berlin has suc­cess­ful­ly reject­ed Por­tu­gal’s plan to adopt the admirable migra­tion pol­i­cy mod­el leg­is­la­tion. . . .”
(“Euro­pean Achieve­ment”; German-Foreign-Policy.com; 1/17/2007.) [9]

5. While demand­ing con­for­mi­ty and acqui­es­cence by oth­er EU states on issues of police pow­ers and secu­ri­ty, Ger­many is pur­su­ing a course on immi­gra­tion that is deviant from offi­cial EU pol­i­cy on immi­gra­tion. “ . . . To facil­i­tate the depor­ta­tion of migrants, Berlin is hop­ing to con­clude, dur­ing its EU Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy, so called, part­ner­ship treaties, con­tain­ing claus­es reg­u­lat­ing the evac­u­a­tion of refugees, with African third-par­ty coun­tries. Accord­ing to Berlin, Mau­ri­ta­nia, Mali and Sene­gal are coun­tries being con­sid­ered as mod­els for such treaties. It is known that Mau­ri­tan­ian secu­ri­ty forces have aban­doned refugees, deport­ed from the EU, in the desert. [8] Mau­ri­ta­nia is not the only West African coun­try known for excep­tion­al treat­ment of refugees. Gam­bia, which like­wise is presided over by a pres­i­dent, brought to pow­er through a putsch, is report­ed to have tak­en, last fall, 50 ille­gal immi­grants from var­i­ous West African coun­tries as soon as they crossed the bor­der from Sene­gal into Gam­bia, they were arrest­ed and were brought to the Marine head­quar­ters in the Gam­bian cap­i­tal, Banjul.[9] Tied with cords and elec­tric cable, they were trans­port­ed by the mil­i­tary to dif­fer­ent loca­tions on the out­skirts of Ban­jul, where they were exe­cut­ed, some with machetes. It is with Gam­bia, of all coun­tries, that Ger­many intends to con­clude its fourth mod­el treaty, includ­ing reg­u­la­tions for depor­ta­tion. . . .” (Idem.)

6. The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at some of the “new” Germany’s hand­i­work. The first sig­nif­i­cant act of reuni­fied Ger­many on the inter­na­tion­al stage was to pre­cip­i­tate the first major land war in Europe since the end of World War II. By rec­og­niz­ing the seces­sion of Croa­t­ia and Slove­nia from the Yugoslov­ian union and forc­ing the rest of the fledg­ling EU to do the same as a con­di­tion for rat­i­fy­ing the Maas­tricht Treaty, Ger­many ren­dered an out­break of hos­til­i­ties in the Balka­ns as inevitable. (For more about Germany’s role in the desta­bi­liza­tion of Yugoslavia and ignit­ing the Balka­ns’ wars, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 48 [10], 154 [11].) A recent con­cert by a Croa­t­ian pop star indi­cat­ed the extent to which the bru­tal Ustashe fas­cist gov­ern­ment of the World War II peri­od has been reha­bil­i­tat­ed. (For more about the bru­tal Croa­t­ian fas­cists of World War II, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#530 [12].) “On a hot Sun­day evening in June, thou­sands of fans in a packed sta­di­um here in the Croa­t­ian cap­i­tal gave a Nazi salute as the rock star Marko Perkovic shout­ed a well-known slo­gan from World War II. Some of the fans were wear­ing the black caps of Croatia’s infa­mous Nazi pup­pet Ustashe gov­ern­ment, which was respon­si­ble for send­ing tens of thou­sands of Serbs, Gyp­sies and Jews to their deaths in con­cen­tra­tion camps. The exchange with the audi­ence is a rou­tine part of Mr. Perkovic’s act, and the ges­ture seemed to lack any con­scious polit­i­cal over­tones. The audi­ence — most of whom appeared to be in their teens and ear­ly 20s — just seemed to be hav­ing a good time. But Mr. Perkovic’s recent suc­cess among a new gen­er­a­tion — many of them appar­ent­ly obliv­i­ous to the his­to­ry of the Holo­caust — has prompt­ed con­cern and con­dem­na­tion from Jew­ish groups abroad and minor­i­ty groups in Croa­t­ia. [Despite those objec­tions, the con­cert — his biggest ever, with an esti­mat­ed 40,000 fans in the soc­cer sta­di­um — was shown in prime time on Sun­day night on state-owned tele­vi­sion, prompt­ing fur­ther protests from Jew­ish and Ser­bian groups.] We don’t want to pay for some­thing that strikes fear into my chil­dren, or dis­tances them from their friends or neigh­bors, said Milo­rad Pupo­vac, leader of the largest Ser­bian polit­i­cal par­ty in Croa­t­ia, refer­ring to the plan for the broad­cast. What has shocked those groups more, though, is that in the ensu­ing debate, many senior politi­cians and jour­nal­ists have said that they see no prob­lem with the imagery or salutes. . . .”
(“Fas­cist Over­tones From Blithe­ly Obliv­i­ous Rock Fans” by Lar­ry Rohter; The New York Times; 7/2/2007.) [13]

7. Two video pro­duc­tions are being gen­er­at­ed by a cou­ple of doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers. One is a DVD of a three-lec­ture series called “The First Refuge of a Scoundrel: The Rela­tion­ship Between Fas­cism and Reli­gion [14].” In addi­tion, there will soon be a doc­u­men­tary about Mr. Emory, titled “The Anti-Fas­cist.” For more about this project, vis­it TheAntiFascist.com [15].