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Saving Private Rhine

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: We learn that a Ger­man gen­er­al will be the new chief of staff for U.S. Army Europe. We won­der why? 

This cer­tain­ly fits in the con­text of the Under­ground Reich that we have been devel­op­ing and pre­sent­ing for years. Pre­cise­ly why an Amer­i­can offi­cer would not have fit the bill remains a mat­ter of spec­u­la­tion.

This occurs against the back­ground of U.S. and Euro­pean inter­ven­tion in Ukraine, an “op” that has brought back to pow­er the suc­ces­sor ele­ments to the World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist forces of the OUN/B.

As we not­ed in our series on Ukraine, the U.S. is basi­cal­ly engag­ing on behalf of the EU and Germany–the EU and EMU being the enact­ment of a Ger­man polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic plan for Euro­pean and, even­tu­al­ly, world dom­i­na­tion. (For more on this, see–among oth­er pro­grams–FTR #788.)

The Unit­ed States has no dog in that fight. We are basi­cal­ly play­ing enforcer for Ger­many and the EU, this at the same time that Ger­many expelled the CIA Sta­tion Chief in Berlin!

“Ger­man Offi­cer to Serve as U.S. Army Europe’s Chief of Staff” by Jim Tice; Army Times; 7/31/2014.

Gen. Markus Lauben­thal is the first Ger­man offi­cer to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe. He is the command’s new chief of staff. (U.S. Army Europe)

A Ger­man Army brigadier gen­eral who recent­ly served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assum­ing duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-Amer­i­can offi­cer has held that posi­tion.

Brig. Gen. Markus Lauben­thal, most recent­ly the com­man­der of Germany’s 12th Panz­er Brigade in Amberg, and chief of staff of Region­al Com­mand North, Inter­na­tional Secu­rity Assis­tance Force Afghanistan, will be sta­tioned at USAREUR head­quar­ters, Wies­baden, Ger­many. He could report to duty as ear­ly as Mon­day.

Lauben­thal also has served as mil­i­tary assis­tant to the deputy com­man­der of oper­a­tions and assis­tant chief of staff of oper­a­tions for NATO forces in Koso­vo.

As the major staff assis­tant to USAREUR com­man­der Lt. Gen. Don­ald Camp­bell, Lauben­thal will syn­chro­nize the command’s staff activ­i­ties much as Amer­i­can pre­de­ces­sors have in the past.

“This is a bold and major step for­ward in USAREUR’s com­mit­ment to oper­at­ing in a multi­na­tional envi­ron­ment with our Ger­man allies,” said Camp­bell.

“U. S. and Ger­man senior mil­i­tary lead­ers have been serv­ing togeth­er in NATO’s Inter­na­tional Secu­rity Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan for years. Sus­tain­ing the shared capa­bil­ity from this expe­ri­ence will ben­e­fit both the U. S. and Ger­man armies,” said Camp­bell who has head­ed the Army’s largest and old­est over­seas com­mand since 2012.


6 comments for “Saving Private Rhine”

  1. They should rec­og­nize us as a non vot­ing EU mem­ber, sub­servient state.

    Posted by GK | August 10, 2014, 3:15 pm
  2. quid pro quo über alles (this for that, more than any­thing else!)


    Aug 16, 9:40 AM EDT


    AP Pho­to
    AP Photo/Matthias Schrad­er


    BERLIN (AP) — Ger­many’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency eaves­dropped on calls made by U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry and his pre­de­ces­sor Hillary Clin­ton, Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel report­ed Sat­ur­day.

    The respect­ed news week­ly report­ed that the agency, known by its Ger­man acronym BND, tapped a satel­lite phone con­ver­sa­tion Ker­ry made in 2013 as part of its sur­veil­lance of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the Mid­dle East. The agency also record­ed a con­ver­sa­tion between Clin­ton and for­mer U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Kofi Annan a year ear­li­er, Der Spiegel claimed.

    The mag­a­zine did­n’t give a source for its infor­ma­tion, but said the calls were col­lect­ed acci­den­tal­ly, that the three offi­cials weren’t direct­ly tar­get­ed, and the record­ings were ordered destroyed imme­di­ate­ly. In Clin­ton’s case, the call report­ed­ly took place on the same “fre­quen­cy” as a ter­ror sus­pect, accord­ing to Der Spiegel.

    The tap­ping of Clin­ton’s call was report­ed Fri­day by Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­er ARD and Munich dai­ly Sued­deutsche Zeitung.

    If true, the rev­e­la­tions would be embar­rass­ing for the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, which has spent months com­plain­ing to Wash­ing­ton about alleged Amer­i­can spy activ­i­ty in Ger­many. Last year Ger­man media reports based on doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den prompt­ed a sharp rebuke from Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, who was alleged­ly among the U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cy’s tar­gets.

    A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin and the State Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton declined to com­ment on the lat­est reports.

    In its report Sat­ur­day, Der Spiegel also cit­ed a con­fi­den­tial 2009 BND doc­u­ment list­ing fel­low NATO mem­ber Turkey as a tar­get for Ger­man intel­li­gence gath­er­ing.

    The Ger­many intel­li­gence agency did­n’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment Sat­ur­day.

    © 2014 The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. All rights reserved. This mate­r­i­al may not be pub­lished, broad­cast, rewrit­ten or redis­trib­uted. Learn more about our Pri­va­cy Pol­i­cy and Terms of Use.

    Posted by participo | August 16, 2014, 2:56 pm
  3. Here’s an inter­est­ing twist to the recent uproar over the BND spy that was caught sell­ing secrets to the CIA (lead­ing the expul­sion of the CIA chief in Ger­many): One of the doc­u­ments the BND agent, Markus R., was sold to the CIA was the tran­script of the record­ed phone calls that the BND picked up between Hillary Clin­ton and Kofi Annan when Annan was giv­ing Hillary a brief­ing fol­low­ing nego­ti­a­tions with Syr­ia:

    Ger­many acci­den­tal­ly spied on Hillary Clin­ton, John Ker­ry
    Ger­many admit­ted to acci­den­tal­ly tap­ping calls made by Hillary Clin­ton and John Ker­ry while Ger­man intel­li­gence was attempt­ing to fight ter­ror­ism.

    By: Matthew Schofield McClatchy For­eign Staff, Pub­lished on Sat Aug 16 2014

    BERLIN—The Ger­man For­eign Intel­li­gence Agency has admit­ted tap­ping “at least one” phone call each by cur­rent U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry and then-Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton while they were aboard Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment jets, accord­ing to Ger­man media reports.

    The reports claim Kerry’s inter­cept­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion was a satel­lite phone call from the Mid­dle East in 2013. Clinton’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion was also a satel­lite call, in 2012, and was report­ed­ly to then-Unit­ed Nations Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Kofi Annan. Both calls were report­ed to have been inter­cept­ed acci­den­tal­ly while Ger­man intel­li­gence was tar­get­ing ter­ror sus­pects in the Mid­dle East and north­ern Africa.

    The intel­li­gence agency (the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst or BND) told Ger­man media that ter­ror groups often use the same fre­quen­cies that the sec­re­taries’ phone calls were made over, so the calls were picked up. The calls were among what the Ger­man news­pa­per Sud­deutsche Zeitung said intel­li­gence sources described as sev­er­al cas­es of U.S. offi­cial phone calls being picked up acci­den­tal­ly dur­ing anti-ter­ror com­mu­ni­ca­tions mon­i­tor­ing.

    The BND is the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of the Amer­i­can Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. Ger­man-Amer­i­can rela­tions have chilled in the past year — since for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency work­er Edward Snow­den began leak­ing doc­u­ments detail­ing the extent of America’s glob­al elec­tron­ic spy­ing and eaves­drop­ping pro­grams. Media reports about Snowden’s leaked doc­u­ments led to the rev­e­la­tion that Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s pri­vate cell­phone had been tapped since the years when she was a low­er rank­ing Ger­man min­is­ter, and con­tin­u­ing at least until the sum­mer of 2013.

    The spy scan­dal includes the elec­tron­ic spy­ing on mil­lions of pri­vate emails and elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the tap­ping of offi­cial phones and even the hir­ing of Ger­man offi­cials to act as Amer­i­can agents and pass on secret Ger­man gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion.

    The news reports out­raged Ger­mans, lead­ing to favourable atti­tudes about the Unit­ed States falling to their low­est lev­els in years and cre­at­ing a pub­lic and pri­vate sense of mis­trust. Merkel has repeat­ed­ly called the U.S. spy pro­gram a breach of trust and not­ed that “friends don’t spy on friends.”

    In a twist that con­nects this tale to the broad­er spy­ing scan­dal, the new reports note that after Clinton’s phone call was picked up, an order from the BND lead­er­ship was sent out to delete the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But the Ger­man charged with delet­ing the con­ver­sa­tion was Markus R, who has been charged with sell­ing 218 secret offi­cial doc­u­ments to U.S. intel­li­gence and, rather than delet­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, sold the tran­script to his Amer­i­can con­tacts. Markus R, who under Ger­man law can­not be ful­ly iden­ti­fied unless he is con­vict­ed, alleged­ly made a total of €25,000, or about $32,500, by sell­ing the doc­u­ments to the CIA.

    He has been charged with spy­ing for a for­eign intel­li­gence agency.

    The BND denied that there was any sys­tem­at­ic phone tap­ping of U.S. offi­cials while admit­ting oth­er phone calls had been swept up. Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cials have told Ger­man media that the fre­quen­cies the Amer­i­can offi­cials use are also favourites of ter­ror groups in north­ern Africa and the Mid­dle East.

    Both Kerry’s and Clinton’s phone calls were picked up while they were fly­ing over con­flict areas. The Ger­man phone-tap­ping pro­gram in the Mid­dle East is well known to U.S. offi­cials. Dur­ing the Syr­i­an con­flict, and par­tic­u­lar­ly after the chem­i­cal weapons attacks of August 2013, there was quite a bit of dis­cus­sion of Syr­i­an offi­cial con­ver­sa­tions picked up by Ger­man intel­li­gence.


    So “par­tic­u­lar­ly after the chem­i­cal weapons attacks of August 2013, there was quite a bit of dis­cus­sion of Syr­i­an offi­cial con­ver­sa­tions picked up by Ger­man intel­li­gence,” and both Ker­ry’s and Clin­ton’s phone calls were appar­ent­ly get­ting picked up while they were fly­ing over con­flict areas. So the CIA knew these satel­lite phone calls were get­ting picked up by the BND. Note that 2012 phone call between Clin­ton and Kofi Annan report­ed­ly involved a brief­ing of Annan’s nego­ti­a­tions with Syr­ia. Also note that Annan announced his res­ig­na­tion as the envoy to Syr­ia in ear­ly August, 2012 and that Markus R. approached the CIA via email with his offer to sell the doc­u­ments in 2012.

    If true, that would sug­gest that the CIA knew these phone calls were get­ting picked up by 2012, and yet the “acci­den­tal” cap­ture of Clin­ton’s and Ker­ry’s phone con­ver­sa­tions kept tak­ing place while fly­ing over con­flict areas that the US knew was being mon­i­tored by the BND through­out 2013, and those calls just hap­pened to involve quite a bit of dis­cus­sion over how to address the Syr­i­an chem­i­cal weapons sit­u­a­tion. Hmmm....maybe there’s more to this sto­ry...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2014, 7:06 pm
  4. Only eight of the coun­try’s 109 Eurofight­ers are ful­ly oper­a­tional...:

    The Tele­graph
    Ger­man fight­er jets unable to fly and mechan­ics forced to bor­row spare parts, claims mag­a­zine
    A report in Spiegel mag­a­zine says Ger­man air force is weak­er than pre­vi­ous­ly thought and a fund­ing cri­sis means scores of air­craft are not oper­a­tional

    By Justin Hug­gler in Berlin

    7:24PM BST 26 Aug 2014

    The Ger­man air force is fac­ing such a severe fund­ing short­age that many of its air­craft are unable to fly, mechan­ics are forced to can­ni­balise parts from exist­ing planes and only eight of the coun­try’s 109 Eurofight­ers are ful­ly oper­a­tional, accord­ing to a report in Spiegel mag­a­zine.

    Ger­man defence sources have rub­bished the arti­cle, say­ing it is inac­cu­rate and does not match up to offi­cial air force logs.

    But the claim that Ger­many’s air force is not as strong as pre­vi­ous­ly thought will cause con­cern among its Nato allies at a time of grow­ing world­wide insta­bil­i­ty.

    Ger­many has the fourth largest air force in Europe, yet the Spiegel report sug­gests it is far weak­er in real­i­ty than it is on paper.

    Many air­craft are bad­ly in need of repair, and spare parts are in such short sup­ply that mechan­ics have resort­ed to tak­ing them from exist­ing planes, said the mag­a­zine.

    The report claims the Ger­man gov­ern­ment is now fac­ing embar­rass­ment because min­is­ters promised to send six Eurofight­ers to the Baltic states next week despite the alleged short­falls.

    It says as few as sev­en of Ger­many’s 67 CH-53 trans­port heli­copters are ful­ly oper­a­tional, includ­ing those cur­rent­ly deployed in Afghanistan, and only five of its 33 NH-80 heli­copters.

    Of the 56 C‑160 air­craft which car­ry relief sup­plies to north­ern Iraq, only 21 are oper­a­tional, it claims.

    The air force has refused to com­ment pub­licly on the report, say­ing it con­cerns clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion.

    But defence sources have sought to rub­bish Spiegel, say­ing the pub­li­ca­tion has mis­in­ter­pret­ed an inter­nal report. Offi­cials said the mag­a­zine’s reporters had list­ed some planes as unable to fly, when in fact they were only in need of rou­tine main­te­nance.

    The row comes against a back­drop of con­cern over Ger­many’s defence bud­get.

    Despite being Europe’s biggest econ­o­my, Ger­many lags far behind its neigh­bours when it comes to defence spend­ing.

    Under a Nato agree­ment, mem­bers are sup­posed to spend at least two per cent of their GDP on defence, but Ger­many spends only 1.3 per cent and is plan­ning fur­ther cuts.

    Since the end of the Sec­ond World War, the coun­try’s lead­ers have been reluc­tant to get involved in mil­i­tary oper­a­tions abroad because of his­toric guilt over the crimes of the Nazis.

    But recent­ly there have been grow­ing calls for the coun­try’s mil­i­tary to take on a big­ger inter­na­tion­al role – not least from the Defence Min­is­ter, Ursu­la von der Leyen.

    “Indif­fer­ence is not an option for a coun­try like Ger­many,” she said in Jan­u­ary. She has also said Ger­many is “almost doomed to take on more respon­si­bil­i­ty”.

    But it is thought even Ms von der Leyen – who is one of the best known politi­cians in the coun­try and wide­ly seen as Angela Merkel’s anoint­ed suc­ces­sor – can­not take on the chan­cel­lor over defence spend­ing. Mrs Merkel is said to be deter­mined to present a bal­anced bud­get in 2015.


    Keep in mind that just because it sounds like Merkel has no inter­est in mak­ing any big new invest­ments in Ger­many’s air force, that does­n’t mean Ger­many isn’t going to be get­ting a shiny new air force in com­ing years although it’ll have to share it a bit:

    The Tele­graph
    EU plan­ning to ‘own and oper­ate’ spy drones and an air force

    By Bruno Water­field Last updat­ed: July 26th, 2013

    The Euro­pean Union is plan­ning to “own and oper­ate” spy drones, sur­veil­lance satel­lites and air­craft as part of a new intel­li­gence and secu­ri­ty agency under the con­trol of Baroness Ash­ton.

    The con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als are a major move towards cre­at­ing an inde­pen­dent EU mil­i­tary body with its own equip­ment and oper­a­tions, and will be strong­ly opposed by Britain.

    Offi­cials told the Dai­ly Tele­graph that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Lady Ashton’s Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice want to cre­ate mil­i­tary com­mand and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems to be used by the EU for inter­nal secu­ri­ty and defence pur­pos­es. Under the pro­pos­als, pur­chas­ing plans will be drawn up by autumn.

    The use of the new spy drones and satel­lites for “inter­nal and exter­nal secu­ri­ty poli­cies”, which will include police intel­li­gence, the inter­net, pro­tec­tion of exter­nal bor­ders and mar­itime sur­veil­lance, will raise con­cerns that the EU is cre­at­ing its own ver­sion of the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency.

    Senior Euro­pean offi­cials regard the plan as an urgent response to the recent scan­dal over Amer­i­can and British com­mu­ni­ca­tions sur­veil­lance by cre­at­ing EU’s own secu­ri­ty and spy­ing agency.

    “The Edward Snow­den scan­dal shows us that Europe needs its own autonomous secu­ri­ty capa­bil­i­ties, this pro­pos­al is one step fur­ther towards Euro­pean defence inte­gra­tion,” said a senior EU offi­cial.

    The pro­pos­al said “the com­mis­sion will work with the EEAS on a joint assess­ment of dual-use capa­bil­i­ty needs for EU secu­ri­ty and defence poli­cies”.

    It con­tin­ued: “On the basis of this assess­ment, it will come up with a pro­pos­al for which capa­bil­i­ty needs, if any, could best be ful­filled by assets direct­ly pur­chased, owned and oper­at­ed by the Union.” A com­mis­sion offi­cial con­firmed the pro­pos­al.

    “Look­ing at the cur­rent gaps, pos­si­bil­i­ties could be from sur­veil­lance Remote­ly Pilot­ed Air­craft Sys­tems to air­lift and com­mand and com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ties,” said the offi­cial.

    There is a already an intense behind-the-scenes bat­tle pit­ting Lon­don against the rest over plans to cre­ate an EU mil­i­tary oper­a­tions head­quar­ters in Brus­sels.

    Lady Ash­ton, the Euro­pean for­eign min­is­ter, the com­mis­sion and France – backed by Ger­many, Italy, Spain and Poland – all sup­port the plans. Both sets of pro­pos­als are like­ly to come to a head at an EU sum­mit fight in Decem­ber.

    “We would not sup­port any activ­i­ty that would mean the Com­mis­sion own­ing or con­trol­ling spe­cif­ic defence research assets or capa­bil­i­ties,” said a British gov­ern­ment spokesman.

    Britain has a veto but the group of coun­tries have threat­ened to use a legal mech­a­nism, cre­at­ed by the Lis­bon Treaty, to bypass the British and cre­ate a major rift in Nato.

    Geof­frey Van Orden MEP, Con­ser­v­a­tive Euro­pean defence and secu­ri­ty spokesman, accused the com­mis­sion of being “obsessed” with pro­mot­ing the “EU’s mil­i­tary ambi­tions”.

    “It would be alarm­ing if the EU – opaque, unac­count­able, bureau­crat­ic and des­per­ate­ly try­ing to turn itself into a fed­er­al state – were to try and cre­ate an intel­li­gence gath­er­ing capa­bil­i­ty of its own. This is some­thing that we need to stop in its tracks before it is too late,” he said.

    Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip, described the plans for EU spy drones and satel­lites as “a deeply sin­is­ter devel­op­ment”.

    “These are very scary peo­ple, and these rev­e­la­tions should give any lover of lib­er­ty pause for thought over the ambi­tions of the EU elite.”

    The Open Europe think tank has warned that the EU “has absolute­ly no demo­c­ra­t­ic man­date for active­ly con­trol­ling and oper­at­ing mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty capa­bil­i­ties”.

    “The fact is Euro­pean coun­tries have dif­fer­ent views on defence and this is best served by inter­gov­ern­men­tal coop­er­a­tion, not by Euro­pean Com­mis­sion attempts at nation-build­ing,” said Pawel Swidlic­ki, a research ana­lyst at Open Europe.

    The spy drones and secure com­mand sys­tems would be linked to a £3.5 bil­lion spy satel­lite project known as Coper­ni­cus which will be used to pro­vide “imag­ing capa­bil­i­ties to sup­port Com­mon Secu­ri­ty and Defence Pol­i­cy mis­sions and oper­a­tions”. Cur­rent­ly Coper­ni­cus is due to be oper­at­ed by the Euro­pean Space Agency.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 27, 2014, 8:03 am
  5. Is open war break­ing out between Rus­sia and Ukraine? It depends on who you ask:

    Bloomberg Busi­ness­week
    Is It War? Ukraine Con­flict Def­i­n­i­tion Soft­ens in West
    By Gre­go­ry Vis­cusi August 28, 2014

    For gov­ern­ments in the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithua­nia, Rus­sia has invad­ed Ukraine and the two coun­tries are now at war. Head fur­ther west, and they’re less sure what to call it.

    While all agree that a line has been crossed, U.S and NATO offi­cials pre­fer to speak of an “incur­sion.” French and Ger­man lead­ers have warned Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin of fur­ther sanc­tions with­out defin­ing what Russ­ian forces have done.

    “In the past 48 hours, we have tipped into a for­mal inva­sion,” Ian Brem­mer, pres­i­dent of the Eura­sia Group, said in a Bloomberg tele­vi­sion inter­view. “Rus­sia and Ukraine as sov­er­eign coun­tries are now at war and it’s going to be very dif­fi­cult for the Unit­ed States and Europe to deny that real­i­ty.”

    Call­ing it war or an inva­sion would force the U.S. and Euro­pean Union to con­sid­er steps they’d nev­er be will­ing to take, such as com­mit­ting mil­i­tary forces, Brem­mer said. While sanc­tions have been imposed on some sec­tors of the Russ­ian econ­o­my, Europe con­tin­ues to rely on Rus­sia for nat­ur­al-gas imports and Russ­ian trade with the EU was worth about $390 bil­lion last year.

    “The EU appears to have exhaust­ed its polit­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble options in the pre­vi­ous round” of sanc­tions, Iev­gen Voro­biov, an ana­lyst at the Pol­ish Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs in War­saw, said in a tele­phone inter­view.

    Troop Buildup

    Pro-Russ­ian insur­gents widened their attacks yes­ter­day on Ukraine gov­ern­ment forces, tak­ing sev­er­al towns out­side their strong­holds of Donet­sk and Luhan­sk, includ­ing near the Sea of Azov. There are cur­rent­ly 20,000 Russ­ian troops in the bor­der region, with 1,000 oper­at­ing inside Ukraine, a North Atlantic Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion mil­i­tary offi­cer esti­mat­ed today.
    Video: Kli­ment Sees ‘Frozen Con­flict’ in East­ern Ukraine

    Latvia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Edgars Rinke­vics said on Twit­ter that Russia’s actions amount to a “war” that should be tak­en up by the Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. The For­eign Min­istry in Lithua­nia, anoth­er for­mer Sovi­et satel­lite state that’s now one of the EU’s 28 mem­bers, said it “strong­ly con­demns the inva­sion of Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry by Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion mil­i­tary forces, which has obvi­ous­ly begun.”

    Pol­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Radoslaw Siko­rs­ki, speak­ing on Pol­ish radio, said that the entry of Russ­ian troops into Ukraine “vio­lates a whole menu of inter­na­tion­al treaties.”


    Bel­li­cose Lan­guage

    Fur­ther west, French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said in Paris today that it would be “unac­cept­able” if Russ­ian troops were on Ukraine soil, with­out say­ing if they were. An advis­er to Hol­lande, who asked not to be named because he isn’t autho­rized to talk to the press, said bel­li­cose lan­guage from the west strength­ens Putin’s nar­ra­tive that it’s Russia’s for­mer Cold War foes who cre­at­ed the con­flict.

    Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, who has a claim to be the Euro­pean leader with the best under­stand­ing of the Cold War after grow­ing up in East Ger­many, also threat­ened more sanc­tions. Jen Psa­ki, the U.S. State Depart­ment spokes­woman, told reporters in Wash­ing­ton that the “incur­sions” indi­cat­ed a coun­terof­fen­sive is under way.

    “The line between a proxy war and reg­u­lar war has been crossed but this doesn’t mat­ter because Putin is deny­ing it and the West is unable to prove it with a water­tight case,” Jan Techau, direc­tor of the Brus­sels office of the Carnegie Endow­ment, said in a phone inter­view.

    Sav­ing Face

    Merkel wants to give Putin “a way out, a way to climb down with­out los­ing face,” Techau said. “I don’t see a will­ing­ness on the part of the West to get out of this nar­ra­tive.”

    Putin’s spokesman, Dmit­ry Peskov, said yes­ter­day that reports of Russ­ian troops oper­at­ing in Ukraine don’t “cor­re­spond with real­i­ty.” Today, Peskov declined to com­ment on Ukrain­ian claims of an inva­sion or rebel com­ments about Russ­ian sol­diers join­ing the war.

    The prime min­is­ter of the self-pro­claimed Donet­sk People’s Repub­lic, Alexan­der Zakharchenko, said on Russ­ian state tele­vi­sion that any Russ­ian mil­i­tary per­son­nel in Ukraine were vol­un­teers on leave.

    For now, “the most like­ly sce­nario is a lim­it­ed, tar­get­ed cam­paign, using Russ­ian troops as nec­es­sary, under how­ev­er thin a fig leaf of deni­a­bil­i­ty, to resup­ply and bol­ster the sep­a­ratists in key strate­gic loca­tions,” said Emmet Tuo­hy, an ana­lyst with the Inter­na­tion­al Cen­tre for Defence Stud­ies in Tallinn, Esto­nia. “A full-scale war with Ukraine is not in Russia’s inter­ests or plans.”

    So it’s unclear if we’re see­ing a major esca­la­tion of the sit­u­a­tion (the finan­cial mar­kets don’t appear to be view­ing this as a Russ­ian inva­sion) but that’s prob­a­bly not going to stop gov­ern­ments around Europe from ask­ing the close­ly-relat­ed ques­tion which pri­or­i­ty is going to win: more aus­ter­i­ty, or more prepa­ra­tions for war:

    Ukraine cri­sis forces Euro­pean defense spend­ing rethink

    By Adri­an Croft

    BRUSSELS Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:55am EDT

    (Reuters) — Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea and east­ern Ukraine may achieve what suc­ces­sive U.S. defense sec­re­taries have failed to do — per­suade Euro­pean NATO mem­bers to spend more on their armed forces.

    The Ukraine cri­sis has been a real­i­ty check for NATO coun­tries that believed they no longer faced a press­ing mil­i­tary threat fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union.

    After years of sharp defense cuts, part­ly forced on them by the finan­cial cri­sis, there are signs that some NATO coun­tries, par­tic­u­lar­ly in cen­tral and east­ern Europe, are ready to increase defense spend­ing, or at least stop the slide.

    Some, alarmed by Rus­si­a’s actions in Ukraine, which is not a NATO mem­ber, are bring­ing for­ward pur­chas­es of weapon­ry.

    The Unit­ed States, NATO’s dom­i­nant pow­er, has seized on the Ukraine cri­sis to dri­ve home its argu­ment that Euro­pean allies must spend more on their own defense. It is press­ing for a for­mal com­mit­ment from the Sept. 4–5 NATO sum­mit in Wales.

    “I hope to see a com­mon com­mit­ment to a grad­ual increase in defense invest­ments,” NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Anders Fogh Ras­mussen told Reuters in an inter­view this month.

    “It won’t be easy because many nations are still strug­gling with their economies and big deficits ... but what has hap­pened in Ukraine is a wake-up call and a reminder that we can’t take our secu­ri­ty for grant­ed,” he said.

    Over the last five years, Ras­mussen said, Rus­sia has increased its defense spend­ing by 50 per­cent while NATO allies on aver­age have decreased theirs by 20 per­cent.


    Ahead of the meet­ing between U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and the oth­er 27 alliance lead­ers, dis­cus­sion have been held at alliance head­quar­ters in Brus­sels over what the pledge will say.

    “The actu­al text here is prob­a­bly the hottest top­ic at NATO head­quar­ters,” a senior NATO offi­cial said.

    Lead­ers are expect­ed to pledge that, as their economies recov­er from the deep­est eco­nom­ic down­turn since the 1930s, they will increase defense spend­ing, NATO diplo­mats say.

    They are also expect­ed to recom­mit to a long­stand­ing NATO tar­get that allies should spend the equiv­a­lent of 2 per­cent of their eco­nom­ic out­put on defense.

    In 2013, only four of NATO’s 28 mem­bers — the Unit­ed States, Britain, Greece and Esto­nia — met the tar­get. Even though it too is cut­ting defense bud­gets, Wash­ing­ton accounts for more than 70 per­cent of total allied mil­i­tary spend­ing.

    With NATO end­ing com­bat oper­a­tions in Afghanistan this year, there is a scram­ble for sav­ings, with hawks say­ing any sav­ings should be spent on defense rather than be seized by finance min­is­ters for oth­er pur­pos­es.

    In the same vein, U.S. offi­cials have warned in increas­ing­ly stark terms about the dan­gers of Euro­peans slash­ing mil­i­tary spend­ing. U.S. Defense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel said in May that Rus­si­a’s actions in Ukraine had under­scored the dan­ger NATO allies have cre­at­ed by fail­ing to meet their spend­ing pledges.

    In June 2011, one of Hagel’s pre­de­ces­sors, Robert Gates, famous­ly said NATO risked “col­lec­tive mil­i­tary irrel­e­vance” unless Euro­pean allies boost­ed defense spend­ing.

    The 26 Euro­pean NATO allies togeth­er spent near­ly $270 bil­lion on defense in 2013, still a large sum, but crit­ics say some Euro­pean nations spend too much on pay and pen­sions and not enough on mod­ern equip­ment and deploy­able forces.

    The 2011 Libya con­flict, for exam­ple, revealed Euro­pean defi­cien­cies in air-to-air refu­el­ing and sur­veil­lance.


    Since the Ukraine cri­sis, there have been signs that the U.S. warn­ings about shrink­ing defense spend­ing are hit­ting home.

    Poland’s Prime Min­is­ter Don­ald Tusk said on Wednes­day his gov­ern­ment aims to increase defense spend­ing to NATO’s 2 per­cent tar­get in 2016, from 1.95 per­cent now.

    Poland, which has embarked on a $41 bil­lion pro­gram to mod­ern­ize its armed forces by 2022, will bring for­ward the pur­chase of 30 attack heli­copters by two years fol­low­ing a review trig­gered by the Ukraine cri­sis.

    Baltic states Latvia and Lithua­nia have pledged to reach the 2 per­cent tar­get by 2020, more than dou­bling the per­cent­age they spend now, Roma­nia has promised to raise defense spend­ing grad­u­al­ly until 2016 and the Czech gov­ern­ment has said it aims to reverse a trend of declin­ing mil­i­tary spend­ing.

    But among the Euro­pean NATO allies that spend most on defense — France, Britain and Ger­many — there is less readi­ness to loosen the defense purse strings.

    France, which has sent troops in the last few years to Mali and Cen­tral African Repub­lic, said last year it would freeze its defense bud­get for six years, imply­ing real-terms cuts, and there is no prospect of an increase in the near future giv­en the poor state of the coun­try’s finances.

    Britain has cut defense spend­ing by around 8 per­cent over the last four years to help reduce a record bud­get deficit, shrink­ing the size of the armed forces by around one sixth.

    Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble told Spiegel mag­a­zine in May that increas­ing the defense bud­get now “would not be a smart move” because it could cre­ate mis­un­der­stand­ings with Rus­sia.

    Ger­many spent the equiv­a­lent of 1.3 per­cent of its GDP on defense in 2013, accord­ing to NATO. Ger­man defense spend­ing is set to rise slight­ly in cash terms from around 32.3 bil­lion euros in fis­cal year 2015 to 32.9 bil­lion in 2018, a Ger­man Defense Min­istry spokesman said.

    There are also dis­agree­ments about the 2 per­cent fig­ure.

    Some argue that it is a blunt instru­ment and what is more impor­tant is how effi­cient­ly the mon­ey is spent.

    Ger­many has also accused some NATO coun­tries hit by the euro cri­sis of only reach­ing the 2 per­cent lev­el because their economies shrank more quick­ly than their defense bud­gets.

    “Ger­many believes that the 2 per­cent require­ment is unsuit­able as an assess­ment cri­te­ri­on to deter­mine the loy­al­ty of a mem­ber state to the alliance. We should talk less about per­cent­ages of defense bud­gets and more about smart ways to obtain bet­ter capa­bil­i­ties,” the Ger­man Defense Min­istry spokesman said.

    NATO allies have imple­ment­ed a series of short-term mea­sures to rein­force east­ern Europe in response to the Ukraine cri­sis.


    Hmm...so a num­ber of cen­tral and east­ern EU mem­bers appear to be eager to increase thi­er defense bud­gets, while Berlin is push­ing a strange pro-and-anti defense spend­ing mes­sage. That makes it some­what unclear about what to expect for the EU as a whole, but it would­n’t be too hard to imag­ine that Berlin is point­ing towards a “less is more” aus­ter­i­ty solu­tion for the mil­i­tary too. After all, as the arti­cle point­ed out, some crit­ics “say some Euro­pean nations spend too much on pay and pen­sions and not enough on mod­ern equip­ment and deploy­able forces”. So maybe the EU will just cut the pay and pen­sions for the mil­i­tary while mak­ing fur­ther hard­ware invest­ments. And maybe this is already hap­pen­ing:

    Roar Mag­a­zine
    New report: no aus­ter­i­ty for EU mil­i­tary spend­ing

    by ROAR Col­lec­tive on May 11, 2013

    High lev­els of mil­i­tary spend­ing played a key role in the unfold­ing Euro­pean sov­er­eign debt cri­sis — and con­tin­ue to under­mine efforts to resolve it.

    A new report by the Transna­tion­al Insti­tute — ‘Guns, Debt and Cor­rup­tion: Mil­i­tary Spend­ing and the EU Cri­sis’ — looks at the ways in which exces­sive mil­i­ta­riza­tion direct­ly fed into the unfold­ing Euro­pean debt cri­sis, and con­tin­ues to under­mine efforts to resolve it. Below the down­link links and info­graph­ic you can find the exec­u­tive sum­ma­ry of the report.

    Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry:

    Five years into the finan­cial and eco­nom­ic cri­sis in Europe, and there is still an ele­phant in Brus­sels that few are talk­ing about. The ele­phant is the role of mil­i­tary spend­ing in caus­ing and per­pet­u­at­ing the eco­nom­ic cri­sis. As social infra­struc­ture is being slashed, spend­ing on weapon sys­tems is hard­ly being reduced. While pen­sions and wages have been cut, the arms indus­try con­tin­ues to prof­it from new orders as well as out­stand­ing debts.

    The shock­ing fact at a time of aus­ter­i­ty is that EU mil­i­tary expen­di­ture totalled €194 bil­lion in 2010, equiv­a­lent to the annu­al deficits of Greece, Italy and Spain com­bined.

    Per­verse­ly, the voic­es that are protest­ing the loud­est in Brus­sels are the siren calls of mil­i­tary lob­by­ists, warn­ing of “dis­as­ter” if any fur­ther cuts are made to mil­i­tary spend­ing. This paper shows that the real dis­as­ter has emerged from years of high Euro­pean mil­i­tary spend­ing and cor­rupt arms deals. This dynam­ic con­tributed sub­stan­tial­ly to the debt cri­sis in coun­tries such as Greece and Por­tu­gal and con­tin­ues to weigh heav­i­ly on future bud­gets in all of the cri­sis coun­tries.

    The pow­er of the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al lob­by also makes any effec­tive cuts less like­ly. This is per­haps most stark­ly shown in how the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, while demand­ing ever high­er sac­ri­fices in social cuts, has been lob­by­ing behind the scenes against mil­i­tary cuts because of con­cerns this would affect its own arms indus­try.

    The paper reveals how:

    * High lev­els of mil­i­tary spend­ing in coun­tries now at the epi­cen­tre of the euro cri­sis played a sig­nif­i­cant role in caus­ing their debt crises. Greece has been Europe’s biggest spender in rel­a­tive terms for most of the past four decades, spend­ing almost twice as much of its Gross Domes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) on defence as the EU average.Spain’s mil­i­tary expen­di­ture increased 29% between 2000 and 2008, due to mas­sive weapon pur­chas­es. It now faces huge prob­lems repay­ing debts for its unnec­es­sary mil­i­tary pro­grammes.
    As a for­mer Span­ish sec­re­tary of state for defence said: “We should not have acquired sys­tems that we are not going to use, for con­flict sit­u­a­tions that do not exist and, what is worse, with funds that we did not have then and we do not have now.” Even the most recent casu­al­ty of the cri­sis, Cyprus, owes some of its debt trou­bles to a 50% increase in mil­i­tary spend­ing over the past decade, the major­i­ty of which came after 2007.
    * The debts caused by arms sales were often a result of cor­rupt deals between gov­ern­ment offi­cials, but are being paid for by ordi­nary peo­ple fac­ing sav­age cuts in social ser­vices. Inves­ti­ga­tions of an arms deal signed by Por­tu­gal in 2004 to buy two sub­marines for one bil­lion euros, agreed by then-prime min­is­ter Manuel Bar­roso (now Pres­i­dent of the EU Com­mis­sion) have iden­ti­fied more than a dozen sus­pi­cious bro­ker­age and con­sult­ing agree­ments that cost Por­tu­gal at least €34 mil­lion. Up to eight arms deals signed by the Greek gov­ern­ment since the late 1990s are being inves­ti­gat­ed by judi­cial author­i­ties for pos­si­ble ille­gal bribes and kick­backs to state offi­cials and politi­cians.
    * Mil­i­tary spend­ing has been reduced as a result of the cri­sis in those coun­tries most affect­ed by the cri­sis, but most states still have mil­i­tary spend­ing lev­els com­pa­ra­ble to or high­er than ten years ago. Euro­pean coun­tries rank 4th (UK), 5th (France), 9th (Ger­many) and 11th (Italy) in the list of major glob­al mil­i­tary spenders. Even Italy, fac­ing debts of €1.8 tril­lion, still spends a high­er pro­por­tion of its GDP on mil­i­tary expen­di­ture than the post-Cold War low of 1995.
    * The mil­i­tary spend­ing cuts, where they have come, have almost entire­ly fall­en on peo­ple – reduc­tions in per­son­nel, low­er wages and pen­sions – rather than on arms pur­chas­es. The bud­get for arms pur­chas­es actu­al­ly rose from €38.8 bil­lion in 2006 to €42.9 bil­lion in 2010 – up more than 10% – while per­son­nel costs went down from €110.0 bil­lion in 2006 to €98.7 bil­lion in 2010, a 10% decrease that took large­ly place between 2008 and 2009.
    * While coun­tries like Ger­many have insist­ed on the harsh­est cuts of social bud­gets by cri­sis coun­tries to pay back debts, they have been much less sup­port­ive of cuts in mil­i­tary spend­ing that would threat­en arms sales. France and Ger­many have pres­sured the Greek gov­ern­ment not to reduce defence spend­ing. France is cur­rent­ly arrang­ing a lease deal with Greece for two of Europe’s most expen­sive frigates; the sur­pris­ing move is said to be large­ly “dri­ven by polit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions, rather than an ini­tia­tive of the armed forces”. In 2010 the Dutch gov­ern­ment grant­ed export licences worth €53 mil­lion to equip the Greek navy. As an aide to for­mer Greek prime min­is­ter Papan­dreou not­ed: “No one is say­ing ‘Buy our war­ships or we won’t bail you out.’ But the clear impli­ca­tion is that they will be more sup­port­ive if we do”.
    * Con­tin­ued high mil­i­tary spend­ing has led to a boom in arms com­pa­nies’ prof­its and an even more aggres­sive push of arms sales abroad ignor­ing human rights con­cerns. The hun­dred largest com­pa­nies in the sec­tor sold arms to the val­ue of some €318 bil­lion in 2011, 51% high­er in real terms com­pared to 2002. Antic­i­pat­ing decreased demand at home, indus­try gets even more active polit­i­cal sup­port in pro­mot­ing arms sales abroad.In ear­ly 2013 French pres­i­dent François Hol­lande vis­it­ed the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates to push them to buy the Rafale fight­er air­craft. UK prime min­is­ter David Cameron vis­it­ed the Emi­rates and Sau­di Ara­bia in Novem­ber 2012 to pro­mote major arms sales pack­ages. Spain hopes to win a high­ly con­tro­ver­sial con­tract from Sau­di Ara­bia for 250 Leop­ard 2 tanks, in which it is com­pet­ing with Ger­many – the orig­i­nal builder of the tank.
    * Research shows that invest­ment in the mil­i­tary is the least effec­tive way to cre­ate jobs, regard­less of the oth­er costs of mil­i­tary spend­ing. Accord­ing to a Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts study, defence spend­ing per US$ one bil­lion cre­ates the fewest num­ber of jobs, less than half of what it could gen­er­ate if invest­ed in edu­ca­tion and pub­lic trans­port. At a time of des­per­ate need for invest­ment in job cre­ation, sup­port­ing a bloat­ed and waste­ful mil­i­tary can not be jus­ti­fied giv­en how many more jobs such mon­ey would cre­ate in areas such as health and pub­lic trans­port.

    Despite the clear evi­dence of the cost of high mil­i­tary spend­ing, mil­i­tary lead­ers con­tin­ue to push a dis­tort­ed and pre­pos­ter­ous notion that Euro­pean Union’s defence cuts threat­en the secu­ri­ty of Europe’s nations. NATO’s sec­re­tary gen­er­al, Anders Fogh Ras­mussen “has used every occa­sion to cajole alliance mem­bers into invest­ing and col­lab­o­rat­ing more in defense.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 28, 2014, 11:17 am
  6. It looks like Ger­many’s defense indus­try is sig­nal­ing that it would like to export more:

    Ger­man defense indus­try threat­ens to move pro­duc­tion abroad

    FRANKFURT Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:00am EDT

    (Reuters) — Ger­many’s defense indus­try lob­by has warned that com­pa­nies were look­ing into shift­ing pro­duc­tion abroad in response to the coun­try’s restric­tive arms export pol­i­cy.

    “All large defense con­trac­tors in Ger­many are assess­ing whether they can stay in the coun­try in the long run,” Armin Pap­perg­er, the chief exec­u­tive of Rhein­metall and head the Ger­man defense indus­try asso­ci­a­tion, was quot­ed as say­ing by news­pa­per Sued­deutsche Zeitung on Sat­ur­day.

    Ear­li­er this year, Econ­o­my Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel said he would tight­en rules on arms exports, curb­ing sales to states such as Qatar and Sau­di Ara­bia, whose pur­chas­es had pre­vi­ous­ly helped make Ger­many the world’s third largest arms exporter.

    In August, Ger­many per­ma­nent­ly halt­ed Rhein­metal­l’s planned export of com­bat sim­u­la­tion equip­ment to Rus­sia, going beyond new­ly-imposed Euro­pean Union sanc­tions which block future defense con­tracts.

    Pap­perg­er told Sued­deutsche new restric­tions left arms man­u­fac­tur­ers with the choice of cut­ting out­put and jobs or mov­ing pro­duc­tion abroad.

    “Oth­er coun­tries such as Switzer­land, France and the Unit­ed States would be hap­py for us to invest there. There, we could export more eas­i­ly,” he was quot­ed as say­ing.

    The defense indus­try, which employs some 80,000 peo­ple in Ger­many, has strong­ly crit­i­cized the stricter rules.

    The chief exec­u­tive of aero­space and defense group Air­bus ear­li­er this month said Ger­many’s restric­tive arms export pol­i­cy could deter inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion on future defense projects.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 21, 2014, 9:16 pm

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