You've all seen them: The condescending and demeaning articles in German media on how fat Americans are. The most notable recent example was a Focus piece entitled, "American Kids are Fat and Lazy."
As always, it is easier for Germans to deride the outside world, particularly the United States, than it is to reflect on their own faults and problems. According to a recent piece in Stern, Germans are hardly models of virtue when it comes to counting calories. The article relates that, according to a Eurostat study, two-thirds of German men are too fat.
In fact, when it comes fat men in Europe, Germany takes the cake...and eats it too: No other nation in Europe has more fat and obese men as a percentage of the population. German women aren't much better: Only Great Britain has more obese women as a percentage of its population.
So the next time you hear the German media, that guy on the U-Bahn or the local dorf-snobs scoffing over fat Americans, just remind them that Germans need to lose the weight and the hypocrisy as well.
"You may be interested in this article at Focus titled “U.S.
Kids are Fat and Lazy.” This article represents the core of the
anti-Americanism that permeates all levels of the German media. They pick only
negative stories and present them in a mocking, sneering tone."
It must have taken a lot of professionalism, class and journalistic integrity for the headline writer to come up with that. Just another day of ugly stereotypes in German media. Our reader's comments really say it all. (Posted by Ray D.; Hattip Bret K.)
Ihr Artikel berichtet weniger über die Stimmung in den USA, als Ihre persönliche Schadenfreude darüber, daß die Situation im Irak nicht den - von Ihnen offensichtlich aber nicht- gewünschten Verlauf nimmt. Er ist schlimmste Propaganda im Stile eines Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler, unseligen Andenkens. Sind Ihnen die Menschen im Irak so völlig egal? Menschen deren Famlien unter Saddam fürchterliches durchmachen mußten und nun einem weiteren Morden aus den eigenen Reihen ausgeliefert sind. Sollen die USA wirklich jetzt ihre Soldaten abziehen und den Irak noch mehr dem Chaos mit Mord- und Totschlag aussetzen? Ist es das was Sie wollen?
Statt zu wünschen und daran zu arbeiten, daß die Situation im Irak einer Besserung zugeführt wird, können Sie es nicht verwinden, daß nicht Kerry, sondern Bush -gegen Ihren ausdrücklichen Wunsch- wieder gewählt wurde, und weiden sich nun unter Nutzung des Elends der irakischen Bevölkerung am Stimmungsumschwung gegen Bushs Politik. In meinen Augen hat das mit seriösem Journalismus nichts zu tun, sondern ist das Trotz-Verhalten eines Halbstarken.
mfG, Michael L.
Sehr geehrter Herr L.,
der Artikel berichtet über das Ergebnis einer Meinungsumfrage in den USA sowie über die Einschätzungen republikanischer Politiker zur Irakstrategie der USA.
Auf Unterstellungen und Beleidigungen gehe ich grundsätzlich nicht ein.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Gruber,
das ist ja die Crux, Sie erkennen es nicht mal. Der Artikel berichtet nicht nur, sondern er wertet auch massiv, und zwar ausschließlich negativ (Bush-Krieger etc.). Beleidigtspielen ist natürlich einfach, Sie sind schlicht nicht objektiv.
(Here is a guest article by one of our readers and commenters, Helian. Helian is a nuclear physicist and writes about Iran's nuclear program, the threat of nuclear weapons and European media's approach to the problem. He provides an expert's view of the frightening potential combination of terrorists and nuclear materials.)
There’s a strange detachment in the many articles that have been appearing in the German media lately about Iran’s nuclear program. There is no sense of urgency about the problem. On the other hand, the snarky one line zingers aimed at the US are notable by their absence. They’re usually commonplace in any coverage of foreign news if the US happens to be in any way relevant to the story. Not this time. Perhaps, at some level of consciousness, the Germans, and, for that matter, the rest of the Europeans, realize that, once again, they have a big problem, and, once again, they need the US to get them out of it. Meanwhile, they’re doing their best to whistle past the graveyard. For example, SPIEGEL ONLINE portrays a “peaceful” Iran, one open to negotiations to find “a good solution and a good end.” Focus lulls us with the story that, “According to a newspaper report, the US military considers it possible that Iran will have the technical capability to build an atomic bomb in five to eight years,” and this, “allows the US government a corresponding period of time in which to decide whether to attack the Iranian atomic facilities.” I rather suspect the reality of the situation is not quite so rosy. Let me explain my reasons why.
No one doubts the destructive power of nuclear weapons. We have already seen what “small” ones can do when dropped on a city. During the decades of the cold war, we became conditioned to thinking of nuclear war in terms of a massive attack and counterattack with hundreds or thousands of weapons launched on each side. We think of the nuclear danger from Iran and other states that may develop nuclear weapons in the future in this context. Possible threats from a nuclear-armed Iran mentioned in the media and elsewhere include an attack on Israel with missiles or bombers, or diversion of one or more complete weapons to a terrorist organization such as Hezbollah. We reassure ourselves that only sophisticated weapons will be used, devices at least as sophisticated as the ones used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which may (or may not) take Iran five to eight years to develop. Should Iran develop such a weapon, it is not out of the question that it will use it. Its current president is a dangerous lunatic, and we are familiar with his rants about wiping Israel from the map. However, there are other scenarios which are, in my opinion, much more likely. There has been a notable lack of “out-of-the-box” thinking in this area. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate the nuclear danger in the context of the modern world, not the one that existed before the demise of the Soviet Union, and consider the likelihood of scenarios involving “unconventional” nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists as well as states. It is on such scenarios that I would like to focus.
The most likely form of nuclear attack in the modern world is one carried out by terrorists. In carrying out such an attack, the attackers might well use a device quite different from the sophisticated weapon that military experts suggest it will take Iran “five to eight years” to develop. Current thought on this subject is often informed by what one might call the “Hiroshima fallacy,” the belief that terrorists would not consider the use of a nuclear weapon significantly less sophisticated than the first weapon used against Japan, or one with a yield significantly less than the yield of that weapon. This is simply not true. Terrorists could inflict tremendous damage in terms of both human life and economic disruption with much simpler devices. Another potentially dangerous fallacy is the notion that terrorists could not attack without transporting a complete weapon to the target. This, too, is nonsense.
The one essential ingredient for making a nuclear weapon is fissile material, otherwise known as special nuclear material, or SNM. By far the most common types of SNM are uranium 235 (U235) and plutonium 239 (Pu239). According to the unclassified literature, 4 kg of Pu239 or 25 kg of U235 is considered sufficient to build a nuclear weapon. There are already many tons of both these materials on the planet today. Any state or terrorist organization that manages to get its hands on the amounts of SNM mentioned above will have the bomb, PERIOD. Forget five to eight years. The reality is a great deal grimmer. It is not necessary to have a degree in nuclear engineering to understand why.
Energy release in a super-critical mass begins with the initiation of a nuclear chain reaction by an ambient neutron, arriving randomly from some external source, such as cosmic radiation, or internally due to spontaneous fission in the SNM itself. The amount of energy released by this chain reaction will depend on the level of super-criticality the mass can reach before the process starts. The more quickly one can assemble the mass, the greater the energy release will be. Modern weapons achieve enormous yields by assembling the mass very quickly, either with powerful guns that propel one piece of the SNM into another, or via implosion caused by an explosive charge surrounding the material, and then injecting neutrons at precisely the optimum time. There are, however, many other ways of simply assembling a critical mass.
Perhaps the crudest method one could think of would be to simply drop one sufficiently large chunk of SNM on top of another. An ambient neutron would likely set off a nuclear chain reaction in such a mass at very nearly the point at which it became critical. Before such a mass again became sub-critical due to melting, burning, etc., it would release significant amounts of radiation, comparable to what one might expect of an effective Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) or “dirty bomb.” While this might not result in significant numbers of actual casualties, it would certainly have a devastating psychological impact and, depending on location, cause potentially major economic disruption as well.
As one gradually increased the speed of assembly of the SNM, it would be possible to assemble larger, super-critical masses before a random neutron set off a chain reaction. To achieve these higher assembly speeds one might use, for example, a stiff spring, or a small explosive charge. At some point a measurable explosive yield would result. The size of this yield would be unpredictable, depending on when an ambient neutron happened along to set off the chain reaction.
If terrorists could secure the necessary SNM, would they be likely to build such a “sub-Hiroshima” weapon? I suspect that they would. Assuming they have the necessary SNM, it is hardly out of the question that terrorists could build a bomb with a yield similar to that used at Hiroshima. However, should they succeed in securing the necessary SNM, they might consider it risky and dangerous to keep it for the length of time necessary to build a sophisticated device, or they might lack access to the technical skills necessary to build one. They might conclude that a small yield rather than a large nuclear blast would be more effective from a “propaganda,” or “public relations” point of view. Creating an enormous number of victims would be likely to alienate large segments of the international community that might otherwise sympathize with or adopt a neutral attitude towards the terrorists. Terrorists might deem the psychological trauma caused by the knowledge that they had and could use nuclear weapons, and the economic dislocation that a smaller blast with subsequent dispersal of large amounts of radioactive material would certainly cause, sufficiently effective. This would be especially true if terrorists feared massive retaliation to possible sponsor states should they use a larger device.
Another common fallacy is the notion that terrorists could only attack a target by transporting a complete weapon. Governments worldwide are currently wasting vast amounts of money emplacing sophisticated radiation detection devices at transportation nodes such as ports, major border crossings, etc., based on this fallacious assumption. These detection devices will certainly succeed in causing traffic delays. The chances that they will ever detect a terrorist nuclear weapon are between slim and none, inclining towards the latter. Terrorists will simply bypass this latter day Maginot line. They are most likely to do so by transporting a weapon to its target by components, rather than in complete form. SNM itself is the greatest liability to anyone attempting to move a weapon or components of a weapon to its target. It could be carried by individuals in backpacks, on “dirt bikes,” ATV’s, light planes, personal submarines, or whatever. Even in the unlikely event that a carrier of small amounts of SNM is detected, the consequences for the terrorist attackers and the state that supplied them the material are likely to be minimal. Indeed, such material has already been seized from smugglers without serious consequences. Smugglers can simply deny any motive other than selling the material on the black market, and can plausibly claim they stole or bought it from corrupt guards, diverting blame from the actual supplier state.
Conversely, non-SNM weapons components would also become easier to transport if smuggled separately. They could be transported to the target in normal shipping containers or otherwise, as convenient, without fear of interdiction due to radiation detection devices. Even in the unlikely event that such components were found, their replacement would be easy compared to that of the SNM. Installation of the SNM in an otherwise complete weapon at the target would not necessarily be a difficult operation for a technically qualified individual, or even for one with reasonable mechanical skills, depending, of course, on the sophistication of the design. It could likely be done in a matter of minutes. In addition to its other advantages, separate transport of the SNM would be an effective safing mechanism, insuring that detonation would not occur until the desired moment.
These, then, are some very realistic possibilities, in addition to the “conventional” ones occasionally mentioned in the media, which must be considered when deciding on the magnitude of the danger of nuclear proliferation, and what we should do to counter it. That danger is not five to eight years away, but will become an immediate reality as soon as terrorists get their hands on a critical mass of SNM. The threat to the cities of Europe is at least as great as that to the cities of America. The likeliest sources of SNM are much closer, and transporting it to a potential target much less risky. We have been lulled into a false sense of security during the long interval of more than 60 years since nuclear weapons were last used in anger. They will be used again. It is not a question of if, but when. “When” might be in a century, or it may be tomorrow. “When” will approach ever more quickly the more states we allow to build nuclear arsenals of their own. I will not speculate here on the wisdom of a preemptive attack against Iran. However, I suspect that, if we once again see a mushroom cloud rise over one of our cities, there will be a very significant rearrangement of attitudes regarding this matter, in Europe and elsewhere.
Top White House aide Karl Rove has been told by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity, his lawyer said Tuesday, lifting a heavy burden from one of President Bush's most trusted advisers.
Not a happy day for SPIEGEL ONLINE and the likes... For weeks and months on end they painted a grim picture of the Bush administration's policies in the Valerie Plame case. Karl Rove's chances to survive the investigation politically seemed virtually nil, and Bush - of course - had to bear the dire consequences.
Hard to say what was worse for the German media in the last week: the early demise of Mr. Zarkawi or Rove's vindication. In both cases, the positive fallout for the Bush administration is hardly bearable für the anti-Bush media crowd in Germany.
Ah well, never mind. BUSH IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN!This just in, from the "independent experts of the British Oxford Research Group" (quote Tagesschau): The war against terror is bound to fail!
Never mind that the Oxford Research Group is a well known left-wing entity, much praised by peace initiatives for their aim "to assist in the building of a more secure world without nuclear weapons and to promote nonviolent solutions to conflict." Of course, the Oxford Research Group has a proud history of denigrading the anti-terror policies of the U.S. One of the study's authors, Paul Rogers, is a fervent critic of the U.S. policy toward Iraq. "Independent experts"? Hmm...
On a day like this the German media accept any warm body critizising George W. Bush...
Update: ScrappleFace has a solution for the desperate German media.
German correspondents in America are a special breed. With a few exceptions they are mostly victims of the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" (BDS), as defined by Charles Krauthammer:
Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.
BDS leeds - among other things - to a complete loss of reality. If the BDS victim is lucky, Doctor John R. Bolton is available to provide immediate medical treatment.
The Doctor is IN.
Such as in this New York Foreign Center briefing on March 9, 2006, for foreign correspondents on the topic of "THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND UN MANAGEMENT REFORM":
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: In the back there, in the very back. (sic!)
QUESTION: Juergen Schoenstein from the German news magazine, Focus. I just want to follow up on your explanation about the different assessment on Iraq and Iran. But in hindsight, doesn't that put the decision or the procedures taken, in the case of Iraq, in quite a different perspective when with Iran, you say we have to pursue the diplomatic option? And in 2003, a different path was chosen.
AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, we pursued the diplomatic course with respect to Iraq. From the time of the Security Council's adoption of Resolution 687, the Ceasefire Resolution in 1991, when -- as a condition of the ceasefire, that coalition forces allowed Iraq -- that Iraq undertook certain commitments, among which were establishing that they had declared and destroyed all of their weapons of mass destruction. And Iraq consistently, for 12 years, failed to comply with that obligation.
And so, it was not a question of how much additional diplomatic activity there would be in 2002 or 2003. It was a question of 12 years of Iraq ignoring Security Council resolutions. And you have to ask yourself, if the Security Council doesn't look after its own resolutions, who will? So in that respect, I think there's a substantial difference.
Needless to say, Schoenstein's article in German news magazine Focus on the Bolton briefing is filled with blatant slants and misrepresentations of the positions of Bolton and the U.S. government. Unfortunately, it is a well known fact that BDS treatment - while effective in the short run - cannot guarantee for lasting improvements.
If there should ever be a movie about German U.S. correspondents, "Clueless in America" might be an appropriate title...
We knew it wouldn’t take long for the German media to find a way to blame the tsunami disaster on the US. Today, N24, ZDF and Focus are all reporting on the alleged failure of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to properly warn nations of the tsunami danger after a massive earthquake shook the floor of the Indian Ocean. The story is based on reports that the “US Congress is preparing to investigate” the NOAA's alleged inability to properly and rapidly pass on potentially lifesaving information to nations in the path of the tsunami.
What is troubling about this story is not its content, but the way in which it is being packaged, presented and sold to the German public. As always, whenever there is a problem in the world, the finger of blame is inevitably pointed at the United States. Instead of asking why the EU or the UN failed to detect the tsunami and promptly warn those in danger, the German media is once again turning to the usual suspect: The world scapegoat USA.
Never mind that the United Nations would have been the most appropriate organization to set up and run a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean that could have saved thousands. Never mind that the EU (that great bastion of humanitarian soft-power) completely and utterly failed to detect and warn anyone of the tsunami. Never mind that wealthy Asian nations failed to invest in a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean in their own back yard. The German media is once again telling its audience what it so desperately wants to hear: It’s America’s fault!
The Truth: The NOAA Did Issue Tsunami Warnings
The headline, “Criticism: US Authority Did Not Pass On Tsunami Warnings,” is misleading in the extreme. It implies that the NOAA negligently failed to pass on information that could have saved thousands of lives. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The NOAA did, in fact, pass on tsunami warnings to several nations and made repeated attempts to warn them of the potential tsunami danger. In most cases, the nations warned either could not react in time or, as was the case in Thailand, chose not to react for fear of harming the tourist industry. It must also be noted that some nations (India for example) detected the oncoming tsunami independently of the NOAA, yet were unable to take decisive action due to a lack of time, coordination and infrastructure.
The main problem facing the NOAA was that it simply did not have the proper contact information for every nation in the tsunami’s path and, absent a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean, had no exact way of knowing where the tsunami was, where it was headed or whether it even existed. The NOAA’s inability to quickly contact the proper authorities due to a lack of coordination is the main issue that Congress would investigate. Here is an excerpt from the NOAA’s December 29 statement on the disaster:
“NOAA scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii went to work within minutes of getting a seismic signal that an earthquake occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. NOAA issued a bulletin indicating no threat of a tsunami to Hawaii, the West Coast of North America or to other coasts in the Pacific Basin—the area served by the existing tsunami warning system established by the Pacific rim countries and operated by NOAA in Hawaii.
NOAA scientists then began an effort to notify countries about the possibility that a tsunami may have been triggered by the massive 9.0 undersea earthquake. The Pacific Basin tsunami warning system did not detect a tsunami in the Indian Ocean since there are no buoys in place there. Even without a way to detect whether a tsunami had formed in the Indian Ocean, NOAA officials tried to get the message out to other nations not a part of its Pacific warning system to alert them of the possibility of a tsunami. However, the tsunami raced across the ocean at speeds up to 500 mph.”
The fact that the German media has chosen to package the story with headlines that imply gross negligence on the part of the US government in this disaster is the truly troubling issue here. Legitimate criticism of the NOAA’s response time or lack of full coordination with affected nations is both legitimate and necessary. It is a problem, however, when the US and the NOAA are singled-out as a primary focus of criticism while the UN, EU and affected nations are largely let off the hook despite their many failings.
Conversely, it is interesting to note that the USA is not being singled-out for praise in the German media for its donation of $350 million in aid or for the fact that US helicopters were the first to bring aid to remote regions affected by the tsunami. This all further underscores the underlying bias prevalent in the German media.
Dykwia has this hilarious story of a Focus journalist who went to New York to write a piece on the election and came back with a story ("New York bläst Trübsal" / "New York in a state of affliction") that was in parts stolen from the New York Times.
"It appears that Jürgen Schönstein of German formerly-conservative magazine Focus is trying to pull a Jayson Blair in his story."
Not that any further proof was needed of the one-sided press coverage of Bush in the German media. But it is surprising nevertheless how the partisan Focus Online - the Internet edition of the right-wing political magazine Focus - reports on the speeches given by Bush and Annan to the UN General Assembly.
Bush vs. Annan - Duel of the world visions
By Peter Gruber
Whereas the UN Secretary-General pounded out his vision of a community under international law, the US president campaigned before stony-faced delegates in a schoolmasterly tone for an America as leader of the world... Annan desires a world in which the principle of law governs and not the arbitrariness of men ... Bush's world vision is in glaring contrast to Annan's vision of an international community under international law... Only so can one understand the stubbornness of the US president... The little short of lecturing tone of the president ... "
Gruber closes his "report" with a John Kerry quotation, wherein - surprise! - Bush is vehemently criticized.
Once again a successful example from the "School of Biased Journalism"...
Here’s a neat little example of biased reporting the German media have developed into an art form.
The following AP Germany report appeared in numerous German print media over the last few days (our translation):
New Allegations of Prisoner Mistreatment in Iraq
Portland/USA (AP) U.S. soldiers have made new allegations against their own supervisors. …
First impression? Abu Ghraib continued. New allegations have been made, old suspicions are being confirmed. They’re torturing again, and doing it because of directives from on high.
A report published Sunday in the American newspaper The Oregon (sic) indicates that the abuse of numerous prisoners by Iraqi policemen was tolerated by U.S. commanders.
This sentence finally makes it clear that it was Iraqi policemen, not - as in Abu Ghraib - American soldiers who were responsible for mistreatment. However, the insinuation is obvious – US commanders are complicit in the Iraqi policemen’s deeds. (An aside – the newspaper is The Oregonian, not The Oregon).
And only in subsequent sentences do we find a more precise description of the incident:
The newspaper’s sources are Oregon National Guard soldiers who had tried to help the mistreated Iraqis. They had, however, been ordered to leave the prisoners to their tormentors.
PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon National Guard soldiers attempted to stop Iraqi jailers from abusing dozens of prisoners, but were ordered to return the prisoners to their abusers and leave, according to a published report. (...)
Neither a direct relationship between the Abu Ghraib abuses nor a claim of any conspiracy between Iraqi policemen mistreating their prisoners and US commanders is mentioned in the American AP report.
Why? Because the facts are these: American soldiers became aware of - presumed – mistreatment of prisoners by Iraqi policemen and intervened in the prison and gave the prisoners first aid. After checking with their commanders they left the prison. The reason? It was the first day after the transfer of sovereignty from the occupation authority to the interim Iraqi government. There was no legal basis for the American soldiers’ intervention. The American authorities wanted to avoid a conflict with the brand new Iraqi government. Rather than continue a direct intervention on the ground the American chain of command elected a political-military approach. They informed Iraqi authorities responsible for supervising the policemen in question.
Apparently this effort was successful, as reported in the original article in The Oregonian:
Guardsmen interviewed for this story said they've watched the detention facility closely since then, and that many of the prisoners were released soon after the raid on the detention facility.
The soldiers said they have not seen any further prisoner abuse occur there.
Doesn’t necessarily sound like “New Allegations of Prisoner Mistreatment in Iraq.” The German AP’s report, that the abuse of numerous prisoners by Iraqi policemen "was tolerated by U.S. commanders," is clearly wrong.
How skillfully the German media have associated this incident with the Abu Ghraib abuses can be seen in the following extracts:
Allegations against Senior Officers in Torture Scandal
US Soldiers Alleged To Have Been Ordered To Abandon Prisoners To Iraqi Tormentors
US soldiers have solidified allegations concerning the treatment of Iraqi prisoners against their superiors. A US military court postponed the hearing in case of Lynndie England, a soldier involved in the torture scandal at the Baghdad prison.
Focus Online: Torture In Iraq – Orders To Look The Other Way
According to a media report, US commanders consciously tolerated abuses in Iraq. A Tunisian released from Guantanamo Bay spoke of confessions obtained under duress. The hearing for a female soldier accused of serious crimes has been suspended so that a subpoena to US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld can be considered.
We really don’t have to comment on this technique any more.
By the way, while searching for the original story in The Oregonian I found this article about a soldier returning to the USA from Iraq in another Oregon newspaper:
Roseburg High grad returns after 15 months serving in Iraq
(...) Despite the hardships -- being away from family, witnessing countless deaths and enduring intense heat and dehydration -- Clegg said he and the other soldiers kept their spirits. (...)
Clegg never doubted the reason for fighting the war, and he said the military's presence after the war is just as important as the fight.
"Whenever you take the army out of power ... you still have to stay there to rebuild the country," he said.
He said overall the Iraqi people appreciated the soldiers being there. People would stop them in the street and tell them they were doing a good job.
The unit was patrolling Baghdad in December and hadn't heard that Saddam Hussein had been captured. They found out because of gunshots in the streets.
"It was pretty amazing," he said. "That was one way they celebrated, was with gunfire."
After six years in the Army, Clegg's stint could have been up while he was in Iraq, but he decided to re-enlist for another three years.
"Being in the Army and being able to do my job, that's a fun thing to do," he said.
Tamie Clegg-Wedge was surprised that after more than a year in Iraq, she hasn't noticed any big changes in her son.
And we’ve noticed hardly any reports like this one in the German media – no abuse of Iraqi prisoners, Iraqis that thank the US soldiers, no delayed psychological trauma to the US soldiers. The article simply didn’t have the type of material that German journalists use to weave their Iraq reports.
As we now know from wire service reports, Al Queda has been observing a large number of terror targets in the USA -- some 500 photos and analyses were confiscated in a raid in Pakistan at the end of July.
When the US government raised the terror alarm level at the end of July, the German media immediately voiced the suspicion that it was just a trick by the Bush Administration, that it wanted to divert attention from the Democratic National Convention with information that was in fact already years old.
Welt: Terror warning based on old intelligence information
SPIEGEL ONLINE: TERROR ALARM IN US ELECTION CAMPAIGN - Bush
Administration risks its credibility
Now we know: the terror warnings were indeed justified. And now that indications of a planned attack on Heathrow Airport in London have surfaced, the necessity of the latest warning can no longer be denied.
Therefore, on the basis of these new developments, on behalf of the German media we would like to inform our American friends that in case of a new terrorist attack, Germany will spare no expression of sympathy. In the aftermath of 9/11 we already witnessed beautiful and moving scenes of sadness and solidarity here in Germany.
Next time it is planned to stage candleligth vigils in all Germany cities. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will hold a spontaneous telephone conversation with President George Bush. The German media have already pledged during the first week of mourning to abstain from their traditional anti-American reporting. At the military level, the Bundeswehr is planning to provide American Homeland Security authorities with 4 German Shephards to sniff out members of Al Queda, provided the US will bear the cost of feeding the dogs.
None should be able to say that Germany did not come to the side of its former ally when it was most in need of our help!
Das Regime von Saddam Hussein hat offenbar weit mehr Einwohner der irakischen Hauptstadt umgebracht als bislang vermutet. Der gestürzte Diktator ließ während seiner 23 Jahre dauernden Herrschaft allein in der irakischen Hauptstadt etwa 60 000 Menschen töten, wie eine am Dienstag vorgestellte Umfrage des Gallup-Institutes ergab.
Klingt nach Schlamassel...
To all journalists who think Iraq is worse off now than under Saddam: