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We Don’t Need EU Army, We Need a ‘European Home’ With Russia: Die Linke

Sputnik – November 17, 2018

Following years of floating within the bloc, the idea of Europe creating joint military forces is on the agenda after the French President and German Chancellor called on their EU allies to unite. While the EU leadership backed the initiative, it got a mixed response among European politicians.

Deputy Chair of left-wing Die Linke’s parliamentary group Heike Haensel has lambasted the idea of creating a European army, which was backed by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In her article for the German outlet Der Tagesspiegel, the left-wing politician insists that European policy needs a radical new beginning.

“People in Germany and Europe do not need armoured roads, weapons and armies, but crisis-proof jobs, stable social systems and decent pensions. Instead of a “European army” we need a common “European home” with Russia. That would be a true vision of a peaceful union,” she wrote.

She stated that the EU and its members have more acute challenges to spend the taxpayers’ money resolving, which “will have catastrophic consequences, not only for Europeans.” The politician pointed at problems within the Union and its member states, including growing employment and utter futility, child poverty, housing shortages and welfare problems, which are successfully exploited. She lambasted the EU leadership for focusing on more deregulation, welfare cuts and militarization instead of solving these issues.

According to her, the militarization is prompting the EU states to increase their military spending. In addition to the NATO-prescribed target of 2 percent of GDP for military budgets, up to 5.5 billion euros of taxpayers’ money is to be spent annually by the “European Defence Fund” for arms technology.

“As if this was not enough, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and German coalition politicians are pushing the creation of an EU army. According to Macron, the project is to withstand Russia, China and the United States. But it must be clear that military Eurochauvinism is not an alternative, or a reforming force in the existing world order. On the contrary, the upgrade of a “military-centred EU” around France and Germany wastes resources and increases the danger of conflict,” Haensel says.

She insists that billions of euros have flown into a senseless and dangerous arms race, and should be spent on social and ecological investments as well as fighting the causes of mass migration.

In early November, French President Emmanuel Macron called for creating a European army that would be independent of the US. The German Chancellor has backed his proposal, stressing recently that “Europe must take its fate in its own hands.” She also proposed the establishment of a “European security council” in order to coordinate the process. According to her, it could be a “good supplement to NATO.” Supported by the European Commission, the idea was branded “insulting” by Donald Trump.

However, the idea of a single EU army has been floated for at least several years. Since 2013, Berlin has overseen efforts towards closer EU defence integration through the Framework Nations Concept, which envisages that Germany should share its troops and capabilities with other European countries.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Germany, EU funding militants in Idlib: Report

Press TV – November 12, 2018

The German government and other EU members are funding militants still present in Idlib and involved in a conflict against the Syrian army, Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper has revealed.

According to the report cited by British daily the Telegraph on Sunday, “no less than 37.5 million euros” has been transferred to militant groups in Idlib by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In total, Berlin has paid nearly 49 million euros to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government and facilitated the transfer of similar funds by other EU members, it added.

Those funds included “11.3 million other sources, or 17 million euros from the European Union, for which Germany would have played an intermediary role.”

According to the report, the German government does not communicate the precise list of recipients of the funds for fear of angering Russia and other sides involved in the Syria war.

The information was revealed in an answer given by German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Walter Lindner to a question asked by Member of European Parliament Evrim Sommer, to which Tagesspiegel was able to have access.

The report comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian and Turkish leaders in Istanbul late last month to discuss a solution to the Syria conflict.

Ankara has long backed militants seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow is a close ally of the Syrian government in its relentless fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Merkel apparently rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to financially contribute to Syria’s reconstruction after they met outside Berlin in August.

Germany is a member of a US-led coalition which has been bombarding Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.

Just recently, Berlin said it was in talks with Washington and other allies about a possible involvement in airstrikes on Syria if it used chemical weapons.

Syria and Russia have warned of a “false flag” chemical attack by militants in order to give the US and its allies an excuse to target Syrian troops which have sought to evict terrorists from their last stronghold in Idlib.

Germany has reportedly deployed special forces to northern Syria to aid US-backed Kurdish militants. In September, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany would not reject a possible longer-term deployment of troops to the Middle East.

She made the remarks during a visit to the Azraq air base in Jordan where some 300 German troops are operating as part of the US-led coalition.

The US and its allies characterize their military presence in the region as part of their war on Daesh, but fiercely oppose a final push by Syrian troops against terrorists in Idlib.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would pose a security challenge for years to come across the continent.

Last month, Germany said more than a hundred militants, who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria, had returned to the country, but among them only dozens were being investigated for possible terror links.

German Interior Ministry said in a statement that they knew of 124 people, who were part of at least 249 people who had traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, some 40 percent of at least 900 Britons who traveled to Syria to join Daesh had returned to the United Kingdom, but UK counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu said they were no longer considered a main threat.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Istanbul Summit on Syria Was a Success but Caveats Remain

By Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.10.2018

The four-nation Turkey-Russia-Germany-France summit on Syria on October 27 in Istanbul had an impressive outcome. All participants – each with own interests – has some ‘takeaway’ from the summit, which itself is a measure of the success of the event. This is also important because the participants now have a reason to work together.

Such an outcome can be interpreted in the following ways. First and foremost, a major regional conflict impacting international security was addressed without US participation. A sign of our times?

Second, participants didn’t quarrel over President Bashar Al-Assad’s “fate”. The debate becomes pedantic today in terms of ground realities. The Syrian nation should decide on its future. That’s also been Assad’s demand.

Third, some serious thought has been given to the journey towards a Syrian settlement – ceasefire, drafting of new constitution followed by elections under UN supervision.

Four, the participants snubbed the US-Israeli plan to balkanize Syria into “spheres of influence” and have also squashed the Israeli dreams of getting international legitimacy for its illegal occupation of Golan Heights as part of any settlement.

Five, Germany and France have become amenable to the Russian demand pressing the urgency for rendering humanitarian aid to Syria and help in reconstruction. (The US made this conditional on Assad’s removal.) We’ll have to see how it pans out, but the summit also stressed the importance of the return of Syrian refugees (which is a key issue for European countries.)

Six, the participants recognized that the remaining terrorists in Syria must be destroyed – although, significantly, they also supported the Idlib ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

The bottom line is that it is the post-war Syrian order that is under discussion now. However, it must be understood as well that the proxy war is not ending but is rather morphing into the diplomatic war that lies ahead, which of course will be keenly fought, given the divergent interests of the foreign protagonists.

Generally speaking, Russia and Turkey are in command as of now. Their own equations are good but there are grey areas, too. The importance of close coordination between Russia and Turkey cannot but be stressed.

Iran cannot be happy that it has been excluded from the Istanbul summit. But it may prove an underestimation that Iran is in no position to assert its legitimate interests. The close consultations between Russia and Iran – not only regarding Syria – are of course the mitigating factor here.

Similarly, a “post-Khashoggi” Saudi attitude to Syria remains the “known unknown”. The US is in a position to blackmail Saudi Arabia to continue to bankroll its military presence in Syria, but the Saudis cannot have their heart in the overreach to project power abroad. Something has fundamentally changed – Saudis are not used to their prestige being dragged in the mud as in this past month and the traumatic experience cannot but have a sobering effect.

Besides, Saudis dare not cross swords with Turkey on the latter’s Syrian playpen. Above all, Saudis would not want to undermine Russian efforts to stabilize Syria, since Moscow’s goodwill and cooperation is extremely vital for Riyadh in the coming period, now that the raison d’etre of Riyadh’s “Look East” is beyond doubt.

Basically, France and Germany are lightweights in Syria. They had a limited agenda at the Istanbul summit. Russia must know fully well that in the final analysis, US involvement is crucial. It is entirely conceivable that at the forthcoming Russian-American summit in Paris on November 11, Syria will be a major topic of discussion.

The US policy in Syria is at a crossroad and will hinge greatly on the standing of President Trump in the aftermath of the November 6 mid-term elections in the US.

Clearly, this was far from a situation of three major allies of the US staging a mutiny on the NATO ship. Germany and France would have consulted Washington most certainly ahead of the Istanbul summit (which has been in the making for months.)

The big question is how the Turkish-American relations evolve. The Khashoggi affair has brought about certain US-Turkey “proximity”. Ironically, the Deep State in America and Trump are on the same page here – rediscovering the vital importance of Turkey for US regional strategies.

The spokesmen of the Deep State used to defame Turkish President Recep Erdogan for being “Islamist” and “authoritarian” and so on and probably even tried to overthrow him in the failed coup of 2016, but today, they laud him for espousing Islamic democracy as the panacea for the region.

Erdogan, in turn – or at least a part of him – had always hankered for recognition by the West when he sought Turkey’s historic leadership role in the Middle East and uniqueness to act as a bridge between the West and the region. Equally, Trump is eternally grateful to Erdogan to refrain from spilling the beans on the Khashoggi affair and for helping him finesse a major crisis for his presidency on the foreign-policy front.

Suffice to say, this “transition” in the US-Turkey tough love can profoundly affect the geopolitics of the Middle East – provided of course Washington plays its cards carefully in regard of Erdogan’s wish list on a host of pending issues, including some of great sensitivity.

Syria is somewhere at the top of Erdogan’s priorities. Howsoever unpalatable it may appear, Erdogan will expect the Americans to throw their Syrian Kurdish allies under the bus. Yesterday, the Turkish army bombarded Kurdish positions east of Euphrates.

Now, how Turkish policies play out in Syria is difficult to predict, since the variables are too many. A US-Turkey rapprochement is hard to reach. But then, Turks and Americans are also old allies and they have a way of knocking their heads together and start working together again.

October 29, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Ramstein Airbase in Germany Receives Biggest Ammo Shipment in Almost 20 Years

Sputnik – 27.10.2018

Ramstein is the largest overseas US air base in the world and is used as a hub for many of its operations, including drone strikes. The base has repeatedly drawn protests in Germany, with the latest taking place in July, 2018.

The US 86th Munitions Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany received some 100 containers with a variety of munitions during the course of October, which is the largest US ammo shipment to Europe since the operation in Yugoslavia in 1999.

Master Sgt. Arthur Myrick, 86th MUNS munitions flight chief, said that the shipment will be used to “support NATO’s European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and augment the Air Force’s War Reserve Materiel in Europe.”

According to Ramstein officials, the shipment is also expected to increase the responsiveness and readiness of US forces at the Ramstein base by pre-positioning ammunition, fuel and equipment to enable a “rapid response against threats made by aggressive actors.”

“We’re a major airlift hub for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, so our main job is to get munitions where they need to be on time. These are real-world munitions to fulfill real-world objectives. That’s the reason we are downloading these things: to make sure we have the capability to move the fight forward if need be,” Myrick said.

The last time such a major shipment was delivered to Ramstein was prior to Operation Allied Force in 1999, during which the US Air Force conducted some 900 air raids against then Yugoslavia. The 78 day long aerial campaign, which was not authorized by the UN Security Council, claimed the lives of around 500 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, and resulted in widespread destruction of the country’s infrastructure.

Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the largest foreign US military base and is a major center for Washington’s overseas military operations. The base was home to American nuclear weapons, but they were reportedly pulled out in 2005. The air base regularly faces criticism from the German public, which demands that it be closed. One of the most recent protests against the US base took place on July 2, 2018, soon after US President Donald Trump said that he was considering a possible withdrawal of American forces from the country.

October 27, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Nearly Half of Americans and Europeans Doubt Mainstream Media’s Take on Russia

Sputnik – 23.10.2018

Respondents in both the United States and Europe turned out to be generally reluctant to trust their mainstream media to provide unbiased coverage of events related to Russia, with the number of respondents adhering to this point of view ranging from 43 to 53 percent depending on the country.

An opinion poll was conducted recently by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP), in which respondents in the United States and Europe were asked the following question: “Do media in your country report objectively about Russia?”

About half of respondents in France (53 percent) and Germany (50 percent), as well as 47 percent of respondents in the UK and 43 percent of respondents in the United States, said that they don’t believe that their media provides objective information about Russia.

At the same time, only 25 percent of French and 33 percent of British respondents said that they trust their media to provide unbiased information about Russia, with 39 percent of those polled in the US and Germany agreeing with this assessment.

The opinion poll was held as US politicians and intelligence officials continue to accuse Russia of attempting to meddle in the election processes in the United States — accusations which Moscow has vehemently denied.

At the same time, London blames Russia for the alleged poisoning of several people in the British city of Salisbury earlier this year, despite the fact that the Russian authorities have strongly rejected these claims.

The survey was conducted among 4,033 respondents aged 18 and above from the US, the UK, France and Germany, in August 2018.

READ MORE:

Most Europeans Want Better Relations With Russia, Not Sanctions War – Poll

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

US forces Iraq to award $15 billion contract to GE instead of Siemens

Press TV – October 21, 2018

Germany is angry after the US government intervenes in a multi-billion-dollar deal for Siemens AG to develop power stations in Iraq and forces Baghdad to opt for General Electric (GE) instead.

The American company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iraqi government earlier this week, outlining their cooperation in the fields of oil and gas production and power generation.

A person, who has seen the paperwork, told The Financial Times that Washington plans to offer financing and insurance for US firms doing business in the Iraqi power sector.

GE’s agreement with Iraq dashed Siemens’ hopes of winning a $15 billion contract to supply 11 gigawatts of power-generation equipment to Iraq.

Until the US intervention, Siemens was considered the front-runner after its Chief Executive Joe Kaeser traveled to Iraq in September and spoke with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about the contract.

US officials, however, warned Abadi that awarding the contract to Siemens might jeopardize relations between Baghdad and Washington.

A top adviser to the Iraqi premier then told Siemens to give up because it was causing problems for Iraq given the US pressure.

“The US government is holding a gun to our head,” the adviser was quoted as saying by another person familiar with the incident.

According to people familiar with the negotiations, the US highlighted the number of American troops killed in Iraq and claimed that Iran had spurred Baghdad to pursue the Siemens deal.

“This is part of very strong campaign of engagement in Iraqi government formation and a very targeted effort to support the Iraqi government and minimize Iranian influence,” Garrett Marquis, a US National Security Council spokesman, claimed.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) complained on Sunday that the US pressure to quash the Siemens power deal with Iraq was unacceptable, blaming President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy for corroding business decisions.

“To implement the America First doctrine in this way in the global competition of multinational companies is not acceptable,” Joachim Lang, BDI managing director, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

He emphasized that governments and companies should make deals based on business interests.

The US, backed by the UK, invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

No such weapons were ever found, but the invasion plunged Iraq into chaos and led to the rise of terrorist groups which continue to plague the country to this day.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 5 Comments

Berlin Refuses to Name Sources Claiming GRU’s Cyberattacks in Europe

Sputnik – October 11, 2018

BERLIN – German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer claimed on Thursday that facts likely suggested that the Russian military intelligence service was involved in a series of alleged cyberattacks across Europe, however, the minister did not specify what sources provided such information.

“We believe that facts and analytical information likely point to the fact that the military [intelligence service] GRU is the source [of the attacks]. I ask for your understanding given the fact that we are not going to make public the sources that led us to these facts and conclusions,” Seehofer said.

On October 4, the United Kingdom claimed that the Russian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate was “almost certainly” responsible for a series of cyberattacks targeting political institutions, media outlets, and companies across the world.

On the same day, the Dutch Defense Ministry claimed that Russian intelligence services had diverted a cyberattack against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), whose headquarters are situated in the Dutch city of Hague, allegedly attempted by four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports.The Russian Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations, saying that the claims were a part of yet another act of propaganda and that “anti-Russia spy mania campaign” negatively affected bilateral relations.

Canada and the United States later joined the allegations against GRU, accusing seven Russian military intelligence officials of targeting with cyberattacks the US electoral system, a US nuclear power company, and anti-doping agencies.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Washington “poisoned” the relations between the two countries with those allegations.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Germany, UK May Slap More Sanctions on Russia Amid Hacking Accusations

Sputnik – 06.10.2018

On Thursday, the US Justice Department announced charges against seven alleged Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking doping agencies and other international organizations.

Bloomberg has cited Britain’s de facto Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington as saying that London and Berlin may slap more punitive measures on Moscow over the alleged hacking activity of Russian military intelligence.

“We have to be ready to take action either on our own or preferably in concert with allies if appropriate,” Lidington pointed out.

He was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman Steffen Seibert, who said that additional sanctions against Russia are currently under discussion between Germany and its European partners.

The statement came a few days after the British Foreign Office stated that London had assessed “with high confidence” that the Russian military intelligence service was “almost certainly” responsible for a series of cyberattacks on political institutions, media outlets and infrastructure across the globe, including in Britain.

The Russian Embassy in the UK, in turn, urged British authorities to immediately provide information on Moscow’s alleged attempts to conduct cyberattacks against London.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country’s intelligence had thwarted a hacking attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was allegedly carried out by four Russian citizens.

A Russian Foreign Ministry source, for its part, stated that there were no and there can’t be any attacks on the OPCW on behalf of Russia, because Moscow already has access to the organization’s files.

The source slammed the Dutch accusations as “an example of some Western states’ policies reaching the point of bigotry,” noting that Western “spy mania is gaining momentum.”

In the US, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said that the White House had announced “an indictment charging seven Russian military officers with violation of several US criminal laws for malicious cyber activities against the United States and its allies.”

He further claimed that Russia had carried out a cyberattack on a Swiss lab which was analyzing a toxic substance, allegedly used against former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK.

Demers also claimed that three Russian agents were previously accused of meddling in the 2016 US election.

Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that it has links to cyberactors attempting to meddle in other states’ domestic affairs, insisting that such claims were unfounded.

In early September, the European Union extended its current sanctions against certain Russian individuals and entities “over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity” of Ukraine for another six months.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘Russian hackers’ mania spreads: Germany joins accusations against Moscow

RT | October 5, 2018

Berlin has joined the accusatory chorus of Western countries claiming that it was “almost certain” that Russian military intelligence was behind the activities of the elusive Fancy Bear hacker group.

A day late for the party, Berlin has joined the barrage of accusations against Moscow, which – supposedly – “hacked” virtually everything.

“We have full confidence in the assessment of the British and Dutch authorities,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday.

On Thursday, the UK and the Netherlands claimed that Russian state hackers were behind the attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other institutions.

The US, in turn, indicted seven “GRU operatives” for a series of alleged hacks, while Canada blamed Moscow for waging “malicious cyber-operations.”

“The government is also almost certain that the Russian GRU secret service is behind the APT28 campaign,” Seibert added.

The so-called APT28 hacker group, also known as Fancy Bear, has been repeatedly accused of having connections, or even being a unit of Russian intelligence. While little evidence is available to back up the bold claims, the main argument is that the group supposedly targets only those states and institutions which the Russian government doesn’t like.

It’s not the first time when Berlin has accused the Kremlin of waging massive hacking campaigns. The idea that Moscow might wish to tamper with the electoral process in Germany was first voiced by Chancellor Angela Merkel in November 2016.

“We already know that we have to deal with reports from Russia, also with cyber-attacks from Russian sources or even with the reports from which we are confronted to some extent with false information,” Merkel said at the time.

The government claims, however, were challenged in parliament, with an MP demanding some evidence to back up the accusations. In December 2016, Berlin was forced to admit that no solid evidence of such activities existed.

German intelligence has also claimed that the elusive “Russian hackers” carried out numerous “cyberattacks on the German Bundestag” over the past years. Then-chief of the German state security agency (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, however, admitted in September 2017, that it was “almost impossible for the intelligence services to find irrefutable evidence that Russia, for example, was behind the cyber-attacks on the Bundestag.”

Ahead of the 2017 general election, however, German spies sounded the alarm over imminent “Russian meddling” again. This summer, Berlin admitted it observed “a decline in Russian cyber activity possibly connected to the election.” While German spies did not bother to provide even a speck of evidence to pin this “activity” on Russia, they were not shy to give themselves a pat on the back, claiming that the said “decline” was a result of their efforts.

Read more:

Berlin Says Trusts UK, Dutch Claims on Russian Cyberattacks Against OPCW

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia | | Leave a comment

UK to keep forces in Germany after Brexit, plans to expand presence outside borders

Press TV – October 1, 2018

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson says UK forces stationed in Germany will continue to stay in the country after Britain’s pending exit from the European Union (EU).

“We are increasing our British points of presence across the world,” Williamson told the Telegraph on Sunday as he announced the UK’s new military strategy in the Arctic. “We will not be closing our facilities in Germany, and instead use them to forward base the Army.”

There are 185 British Army personnel and 60 Ministry of Defense (MoD) staff currently based in the 45-square mile Sennelager Training Area in near the western city of Paderborn.

The UK and the US-led NATO military alliance have been using Sennelager as an expansive live firing training area over the past years.

The personnel would continue to occupy the adjacent Athlone Barracks for housing and schooling, the MoD said in a statement.

The British army would also keep control over the Ayrshire Barracks in Mönchengladbach, which can house around 2,000 military vehicles. They will also maintain a presence at the German Wulfen Defence Munitions Storage Facility, which holds operational ammunition.

According to the MoD statement, British military personnel will also stay in Germany to support NATO’s other critical infrastructure and assets such as the combined river crossing unit based in Minden.

Williamson also announced that that London was planning to send around 800 troops to Norway as a warning shot to Russia.

The decision was part of the UK’s plan to step up its military presence in the Arctic region in order to address concerns about growing Russian aggression “in our back yard,” he said.

The UK Royal Navy and its Norwegian counterpart have already purchased a large fleet of US-made P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to stop what they call Russia’s growing submarine activity near their territorial waters.

“We see Russian submarine activity very close to the level that it was at the Cold War, and it’s right that we start responding to that,” Williamson said.

October 1, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Germany approves extradition of Iran diplomat over bomb ‘plot’ – court

RT | October 1, 2018

Germany has approved the extradition of an Iranian diplomat over a suspected bomb plot, according to a statement by a local court. The 46-year-old man, arrested on German soil in July, will be handed over to Belgium.

The diplomat, identified as Vienna-based Assadollah Assadi, is suspected of plotting an attack on an Iranian opposition group near Paris, according to AP. He was detained in July near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European arrest warrant.

Now, a superior regional court in a Bavarian town of Bamberg said in a statement that it had approved the extradition of Assadi to Belgium. The man “cannot cite diplomatic immunity” to oppose the extradition because he was detained outside of his host state, Austria.

Also, Assadi was not traveling “between his host country and the state that dispatched him,” the court has said.

Back in July, Assadi had allegedly contracted an Antwerp-based couple and gave them a device containing 500 grams of TATP, a homemade explosive produced from easily available components.

The couple in question, identified by the media as a 38-year-old man, Amir S., and a 33-year-old woman, Nasimeh N., were stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding the explosives in their car. The pair were then charged with attempted terrorist murder and preparation of a terrorist act.

Soon after the news on Assadi broke, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced the allegations as a foiled terrorist plot, calling them “a sinister false-flag ploy.” He said the timing of Assadi’s arrest was particularly notable.

“How convenient: Just as we embark on a presidential visit to Europe, an alleged Iranian operation and its ‘plotters’ arrested,” Zarif tweeted. He stated that Tehran “unequivocally condemns all violence and terror anywhere.”

October 1, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Railroad link to connect Russia’s St. Petersburg with Germany’s Berlin

RT | September 30, 2018

Russia and Germany have agreed to connect Germany’s capital Berlin with St. Petersburg, which is often branded Russia’s northern capital.

The news, first published in the Russian media, was confirmed by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The train will go from Germany to the Russian exclave city of Kaliningrad and then onwards to St. Petersburg, the ministry has confirmed in a letter to RT.

There is currently no direct railway between St. Petersburg and Berlin. Passengers have to make a two-hour connection in Moscow and spend 32 hours on road. It is also difficult to get from Berlin to Kaliningrad by train – you have to change trains twice. The new route will also slash the travel time between St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad by almost a half.

Russian Railways has also confirmed the new route, Izvestia daily reports. The countries have given no information about the date of the launch of the railroad, but it is likely to be a significant boost Russian-German tourism.

“At the moment, the technical development of the project is being carried out. The matter is, for example, that some stations on the route can accept trains with 50 cars, and some can’t. It is too early to speak about the approximate time frames of the launch,” Russian Railways said.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | 3 Comments