Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.
Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.
These claims support the assertion made in the British government dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme in September 2002 that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from an African country, confirmed later as Niger. George W. Bush, US president, referred to the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003. (...)
SPIEGEL ONLINE is seeking three editors, one in an executive position, for a current English-language project. As an ideal candidate, you have a background in journalism and editorial experience. Your mother tongue is English and you speak German fluently. You can express yourself briskly and firmly in English. You have already been living for some time in Germany, are familiar with German politics and society, and can analyze them incisively.
We want to give our colleagues in the Hamburger Online Irregulars a helping hand. How we've chuckled at Marc Pitzke's overwrought Bush-hatred! How we've chortled over SPIEGEL ONLINE's unwitting humor (unforgettable: "Ex-President Henry Kissinger")!
Well then: we summon our English-speaking readers to try their luck with the spiffy Hamburgers. But don't make the mistake of taking the job description literally. Some of its formulations can only be correctly interpreted by journalism insiders. We provide support in the decryption.
"background in journalism": not to be understood as having anything to do with journalism in the conventional sense. In fact, that kind of background would be detrimental to a career at SPON. What is meant by this formulation is the prediliction to biased journalism coupled with the neglect of the foundations of logic and common decency.
"editorial experience": mention here your time at Indymedia Deutschland or your collaboration with the PDS.
"can analyze them incisively": proficiency in the German (or any other) language is not required, nor is critical discernment necessary. Adept in the methods of agitprop, the successful applicant must be able to convey to the reader the turpitude of the neoconservative specter.
You don't possess all of these advanced journalistic skills? Not to worry!
A personal recommendation from an old-time '68er, maybe one from the stall of Joschka Fischer or Daniel Cohn-Bendit, would be just as good!
Just don't unmask yourself as a regular visitor of this blog.
Former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, along with Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, are among the most beloved in a family of anti-Bush “whistleblowers” frequently referred to by the German media as living proof that the Bush administration is supposedly corrupt. In a recent article on Joseph Wilson entitled “Huerensoehne ueberall” or “SOBs everywhere” SPIEGEL magazine profiled the avid Bush hater as a “symbol figure for the protest against the politics of the policy of the US president.” But, as usual, the German weekly took things a step further and clearly implied that the US media is being systematically intimidated into silence by the Bush administration. Not surprisingly, the SPIEGEL author used a quote from resident expert Wilson to make the magazine's point:
“Some of them (journalists) answered that they are afraid. One said he didn’t want to be sent to Guantanamo, which I saw as a metaphor, another said he had two kids in private school and a mortgage on the house. Even light criticism of this administration leads to calls from high government circles to the editors-in-chief.”
The inclusion of this particular quote from Wilson is no accident. It is a part of a larger conscious effort by SPIEGEL and other German media outlets to portray the U.S. media as “Gleichgeschaltet” meaning that they are all uniform supporters of the Bush party line. Claims that the American press is under the control of a massive neo-con conspiracy led by Rupert Murdoch and Fox News are made on a regular basis in political debates and forums across Germany and other parts of Europe.
The idea that the US media is “Gleichgeschaltet” would seem laughable to anyone who has had any real exposure to the US media…laughable that is until you realize how many people actually buy into the idea. If you don’t believe me, just read what German columnist Henryk Broder recently wrote (click on link above for complete article in German) about Germans living in the USA:
We expected it. We knew it would come. Only the when and where were in doubt. The German media are drawing parallels among the American soldiers’ abuses in Abu Ghraib, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Nazi’s concentration camps. And the icing on the cake? This moronic idiocy, which first appeared in a low-circulation, leftist, feminist rag, is being reprinted in Germany’s most important conservative newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
(...) The first (photo) shows a hooded victim on a pedestal who, with his arms outstretched like the crucified Christ, symbolizes the world’s sufferings. … The second photo shows a pile of naked men that reminds us of pictures from the concentration camps. …
The issue here is nothing less than the revision of German history. Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt and Dachau are all in the same league with Abu Ghraib. (While under American control – the German media treated Abu Ghraib under Saddam’s rule as a non-event, as a sub-set of the category Arabian folklore.)
We get it! That’s the way it was in those Nazi concentration camps back then. A bunch of louts, those concentration camp guards – they didn’t always maintain discipline. There were times when the inmates were slapped in the face. And more – occasionally they had to stand on a box for hours. Once the prisoners even had to undress! And then get dressed again! Sure weren’t resorts, those concentration camps. If only the Führer had known!
So the pictures taken in German concentration camps remind us of American crimes in our day? Well, we don’t want to compare numbers. Every nation has a few bad boys who get carried away once in a while, doesn’t it?
In appreciating Alice Schwarzer’s unspeakable comparison we shouldn’t forget that she is a member of the caste that German media consider their most valuable communicators. Years ago she was considered – and the issue was not up for debate – an exalted feminist. Since then she has more than become acceptable in polite society, she influences society’s opinion with her commentary. Our American friends might well see her as a mediocre intellectual not unlike Gloria Steinem, Susan Sontag and Michael Moore – only uglier. You know what I mean… (Here's a picture of Alice Schwarzer. She's the cutie on the left).
Now it will be difficult to find a bigger piece of nonsense in the German media by year’s end. Topping the comparison to Christ’s crucifixion and the German concentration camps won’t be easy. Perhaps Stalingrad = Falluja? Or Bush = Hitler?
Although we’ve already had Bush described as equal to Hitler here in Germany.
But let’s not give up our hope for more absurd comparisons. Let’s look and see what the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has to offer in the future…
This article(registration required) by Ivo Daalder and Robert Kagan in the Washington Post hails the early return of Iraqi sovereignty and questions the role of France and Germany.
The Allies Must Step Up
(...) France and Germany demanded a significant U.N. role, and they've gotten it. They demanded a rapid turnover of sovereignty to the Iraqis, and they got that, too. With the two countries having gotten their way in the negotiations on the resolution, the time has come for them to pitch in and join in the effort to build a peaceful, stable, democratic future for Iraq. After all, French, German and other European officials have insisted all along that the success or failure of Iraq is as much a vital interest for them as for the United States. They've also insisted, understandably, that if the United States wanted their help, it would have to give them a say over policy in Iraq.
Unfortunately, now that the Bush administration has finally acquiesced to their requests, it appears that France and Germany are refusing to fulfill their end of the bargain. Leaders of both countries have declared they will not send troops to assist in Iraq under any circumstances. Still more troubling was French President Jacques Chirac's declaration at the Group of Eight summit last week that he opposed any NATO role in Iraq, even though the resolution France supported explicitly calls on "Member States and international and regional organizations to contribute assistance to the multinational force, including military forces."
The positions staked out by the French and German governments are an abdication of international responsibility. (...)
NATO officials, as well as some allied countries, argue that with the alliance already involved in Afghanistan, taking on Iraq as well is beyond the organization's capacity. But the truth is, if NATO cannot
Things are tough for Gerhard Schröder these days. In the face of his economic policy’s poor results even his foreign policy, based on distancing himself from the US, isn’t making much of an impression on voters. At best some feel sorry for him.
He has few friends left, either in his own party or amongst the media. Thus he will be especially pleased with support from an “expert,” even if it’s from an almost completely unknown individual who hasn’t finished her training.
Let us introduce Susan Neiman, director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. Nieman is an American. She was a philosophy professor at Yale, which qualifies her uniquely for an expert assessment of all aspects of American policies, military strategies included. The Einstein Forum, according to its own literature, is a “center of intellectual innovation” that “examines new, provocative thinking in an open, informal atmosphere.” The Einstein Forum is financed by the State of Brandenburg, i.e. by the German taxpayer. It also receives financial support from private donors, such as several major German banks and IBM Germany (!).
In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s cultural pages, Susan Neiman introduces herself with the presentation of a ground-breaking article, the title of which already answers all questions:
“Thank you, Chancellor Schröder!”
Neiman expresses her deeply felt thanks to Schröder for his fight against evil incarnate – the US government under the George W. Bush administration.
In Iraq almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Even the capture of the tyrant – an event which, according to Hans Magnus Enzensberger, we should always experience as a moment of joy – now has a depressing effect. The only barely acceptable pictures of Saddam’s humiliation at the time of his arrest now remind us of the unbearable humiliations that have befallen other Iraqis. Thus the whole thing threatens to descend into a violent horror that almost puts Saddam’s acts of torture into perspective.”
“…barely acceptable pictures of Saddam’s humiliation at the time of his arrest”? “…unbearable humiliations that have befallen other Iraqis”? Could we carefully remind our gentle readers that – and Susan, please
The article has about as much in common with sober journalism as the caterwaul of drunken soccer fans has with classical oratory. The article's intention is the partisan defamation of the American president with no consideration for truth, logic, or - one scarcely entertains the notion when appraising SPIEGEL ONLINE's offerings - civility toward the political opponent. It is a case of fanatical misrepresentation.
We are already familiar with one of the authors, Ralf Beste, who has hitherto distinguished himself as a sycophant of Gerhard Schroeder. Is his servility toward the German chancellor out of character with his malignant polemic against Bush? Not at all - these are two sides of the same coin: indiscriminate submission to the nomenklatura of one's own party, in conjunction with an aggressively one-sided interpretation of the opponent's position.
The accusations of torture against American troops at the Abu Ghraib prison have really upset the German media. Not just Bush - (he, of course, is the first obvious choice in the line of fire) - but America as a whole is being pilloried:
"Out of sight, out of mind- America would like nothing more, than to permanently erase the entire scandal from it's collective memory."
Permanent apologies from America are being required as the minimum atonement.
Now here is that apology, expressed in an American blog:
I am sorry that the last seven times we Americans took up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth, it was in the defense of Muslims (Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait, etc.).
I am sorry that no such call for an apology upon the extremists came after 9/11. I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11 were Arabs. I am sorry that Arabs have to live in squalor under savage dictatorships. I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth. I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious schools.
I am sorry that Yasir Arafat was kicked out of every Arab country and hijacked the Palestinian "cause".
I am sorry that no other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of financial help to those same Palestinians.
I am sorry that the USA has to step in and be the biggest financial supporter of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA.
I am sorry that our own left wing elite and our media can't understand any of this.
And I apologize for the selective perception of human-rights violations in the German media.
Incidents caused by U.S. troops, if no more numerous than they had been in the last months of 1945, were certainly no fewer; they included, as they had earlier, wanton killing, looting, and threats and assaults on German police and civilians. ... Attacks by Germans on American soldiers, almost unheard of before, were increasing too, mostly because of fraternization between soldiers and German women. German men resented the women's willingness to consort with U.S. soldiers, the soldiers' affluence, and their own inability to rank even as minor competition for the Americans.
Interesting article by Kevin Hassett at Tech Central Station:
Why Schroeder Lost, and What It Means for America
(...) Germany was once an economic marvel, closely bound to the most powerful nation on earth. By choosing economic policies that are the opposite of those advocated by Reagan, and a foreign policy that offended the nation that helped unify Germany, Schroeder has taken his country down a path that is perhaps as bad as can be imagined. And the German people know it.
For the United States, the latest election is tremendous news. A chastened Schroeder will have to be a more reasonable political ally. And the pressure for the EU to adopt centralized German socialism rather than free market principles is now significantly lower than it once was. This will be a strong boon for the European economy, and will be an even bigger plus for Germany if the voter revolt begins a dramatic overhaul of its economic policies.
Coming soon to a theatre near you: "Schroeder alone at home".
It is said that to win a battle you must be the one to choose the battleground. Since the Abu Ghraib abuses were revealed, the battleground has been chosen by those who would blur the lines between terrorists and
General Lucius D. Clay was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Forces in Europe and the Military Governor of the U.S. Zone of Occupation in Germany from 1947 to 1949. In this interview, conducted by the Harry S. Truman Library in 1974, he discusses problems encountered in the aftermath of WWII. These problems are comparable to the difficulties the U.S. faces in rebuilding Iraq.
MCKINZIE: One of the initial problems you faced was that you had to do something with all of those people who were members of the Nazi party.
CLAY: We were in a difficult position on this, because with the exception of the few notorious leaders, neither the British nor the French cared a thing about denazification. We were pursuing a policy in our zone that was not being pursued anywhere else. (...)
I think I had to take it and do it. That was the case. Nobody had had any experience in this kind of a job. After all, we hadn't had this kind of occupation of a major country. We may have had it back in the Spanish-American War and the Philippines, but they weren't really an enemy country. We had theoretically given them their liberation. They didn't think they were liberated, but we thought they had been liberated.
In Germany we had no background, because after World War I, there was always a German government; occupying troops were there for military purposes.
We had a very unusual situation; even more so than Japan. Japan did, at least theoretically, still have the Emperor and some semblance of government. We had nothing. We had to improvise, we had to make decisions on the spot. I think this is the way it should have been.
By the way: German Chancellor Schroeder's speech at the D-Day ceremonies took great pain not to mention the U.S. as "liberator". The closest he came to mentioning the U.S. was in the context of "the Allies":
"Ladies and gentlemen, the fall of the Hitler dictatorship was the work of the Allies in the West and the East."
Compare this to Schroeder's treatment of Russia:
The millions of victims of the Nazis in eastern Europe are not forgotten, the men and women of the western Alliance are not forgotten, neither are all the Russian soldiers who gave their lives for the liberation of their homeland.
Schroeder even used a clever piece of revisionist history in that he - disregarding then French President Mitterrand's desperate attempts to hinder German reunification - thanked France for reunification. If there was one country that used its political power to wholeheartedly support German reunification, it was the U.S.!
"Without the hand, which France in its generosity and political wisdom stretched out to us, we would not have found been able to complete the path which led us to reunification. And for this Mr. President I would especially like to thank you for your constant help and commitment. It is a good day -- today on June 6, 2004 -- to thank France and its Allies for that."
"France and its Allies" - the nerve!
Is it not extraordinarily generous of the French to allow the Americans and the English, despite their contribution having been so utterly minuscule, to take part in the D-Day festivities?
ARD: “Very, Very Large Debacle for the SPD, Worst Postwar Election Result Ever”
The European parliamentary election confirmed a clear trend in German politics: The SPD and Chancellor Schroeder are on their way out. Today, Sunday, June 13, the Socialists registered their worst election loss in postwar history, dropping at least 7 percentage points to a projected 22%. The conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) took advantage of the Socialist's collapse to claim two times as many votes with a projected 45% result, giving them the largest number of seats from Germany's 99 designated seats in the European parliament.
SPD Personnel Changes Fail to Stop Party's Implosion: Chancellor Schroeder under Massive Pressure
Earlier this year, Chancellor Schroeder stepped aside as the SPD's party chairman to concentrate fully on his work as Chancellor. Franz Muentefering replaced Schroeder as party chairman in the hopes of turning things around. But the job has proven to be mission impossible. It was as if Muentefering had been asked to bail out the Titanic with a five gallon bucket. The question now is whether the captain, Schroeder, will go down with the ship, or jump overboard before it is too late. Schroeder is clearly running out of excuses and will soon have to face the music for his party's miserable performance. If the current trend continues, it is unlikely that the Chancellor will politically survive 2004.
How much longer can a party supported
by only 22% of the populace govern?
Today's election results in the German state of Thuringia were a further disaster for the SPD, with the party dropping over 4% from the last election to an abysmal 14% of the vote. The 14% result is the second worst loss in SPD history in German state elections. If the Greens are unable to pass the 5% hurdle to gain seats in the state parliament, the CDU will retain its absolute majority in Thuringia's state parliament for a further five years. At the moment, the Greens still appear to be under the 5% mark with the CDU still in command of the absolute majority. We will keep you updated should things change there...