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Κυριακή, 31 Μαΐου 2009

Would you bank on them?

Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”

Profiles

Jacques de Larosière
Callum McCarthy
Otmar Issing
Leszek Balcerowicz
Onno Ruding
Rainer Masera
José Pérez Fernández
Lars Nyberg


Authors:

Kenneth Haar
Andy Rowell
Yiorgos Vassalos


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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men” Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Executive Summary


The financial crisis has unleashed a huge debate on the state of the global financial system.
As politicians examine fiscal solutions and regulatory reforms, the big question is how
supervision and regulation should be changed to avoid a repetition of the present meltdown.

In the EU, the Commission and the Council has set up a High Level Group of eight experts to
advise them on how to reform the financial system in terms of supervision and regulation.
Given the now obvious failings of the current system and individual financial sector
institutions, it would seem prudent to seek advice from a diversity of sources, including from
independent experts who had expressed concern about the flaws in the current financial
architecture.

However, the group - named the de Larosière Group after its chairman - is comprised of
people closely linked to the financial industry, or to institutions that, to a greater or lesser
extent, have been implicated in the crisis. Four members of the group are closely linked to
giant financial corporations that have all played a major role in the current financial crisis, a
fifth was the head of the UK Financial Services Authority that completely failed in its
supervision of bust bank Northern Rock, a sixth is a fierce enemy of regulation and a seventh
works for a company whose clients include major banks.

Beyond this, some members of the Group failed to warn of the impending financial crisis and
lately they have even played down its extent and severity. The majority have expressed strong
support for a deregulated financial sector and can be deemed to have supported hard-line,
neo-liberal policies that arguably created the financial crisis. They are the very kind of people
who got us in to the mess. The eight members are:

Jacques de Larosière: Co-chair of the financial sector lobby organization, Eurofi and until
recently, adviser to the French bank BNP Paribas for a decade
Rainer Masera: Former Managing Director of a European branch of Lehman Brothers,
which went bankrupt after heavy losses on subprime loans
Onno Ruding: An adviser to Citigroup, owners of Citibank that received billions of US
dollars in a bail-out
Otmar Issing: Adviser to the financial giant Goldman Sachs
Callum McCarthy: Former head of the UK Financial Services Authority, accused of
systematically failing in its duty over bust British bank, Northern Rock
Leszek Balcerowicz: A strident advocate of deregulation
José Pérez Fernández: Works for a financial market intelligence company, which counts
big banks as clients
Lars Nyberg: A career banker, now vice chair of the Swedish National Bank.

That such a group has been selected to play a key role in the EU debate on the response to the
crisis is deeply worrying. It is unlikely to open up any debate on real alternatives to the
present financial architecture.

Policy capture by vested interests results in flawed policies and regulations. Europe’s leaders
must end the privileged access to decision makers enjoyed by the powerful finance sector
lobby. At the same time, they must also curb the power that the private sector holds over the
political process in the EU and make decision-making democratically accountable.

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Introduction


“In the case of legislators, I am convinced that over the years there has been too

much ‘regulatory capture’ by the sell side of the financial services market: Their

lobbies have been strong and powerful.”

Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for Single Market and Services, February 2009.1

Throughout Europe millions of ordinary workers are asking themselves if they will be out of a job
in the near future. The economic crisis is now impacting on peoples’ livelihoods across the EU. As
politicians, governments and officials struggle to respond, they are asking how the crisis could have
been avoided and how to escape what is now seen as the worst recession for over 50 years.

The answer to a question, inevitably depends on who you ask. In the case of the financial crisis, the
Commission and the European Council have decided to seek advice from a group of eight financial
experts. These eight are members of what is known as a High Level Group, which was approved by
the Council in October on the recommendation of the Commission. This High Level Group on EU
financial supervision, often referred to as the de Larosière Group, is tasked with proposing a
response to the crisis before the European Council’s Spring Summit in March.2

The High Level Group will exert significant influence on the international response to the crisis.
According to the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, the Group’s
recommendations “will help us to develop our proposals for shaping global financial markets”.3
Even before seeing the group’s conclusions, Commissioner McCreevy has stated that the
recommendations will form the basis of a Communication, to be discussed at the Spring European
Council.4 This will happen just days before the crucial G20 summit on the financial crisis in London
in April, attended by new US President Barack Obama.

This is a group with huge responsibility and an important mandate. Consequently one would expect
the Council and the Commission to have shown the utmost care when selecting the members. This
is particularly important given the recent acknowledgment by the Commission that there has been
too much “regulatory capture” by the financial industry and that this is part of the root of the crisis.5

McCreevy has also conceded that the Commission must be more “objective”. 6 Given his comments
and the severity of the present crisis, the public could expect the Commission to have consulted a
broad range of independent experts, including representatives from all interested stakeholders and a
variety of political if not economic views.

For this report, we examined whether the group’s members represent a range of stakeholders, or
whether they are firmly tied to the financial services industry. We also investigated the diversity of
opinion among the members. This report outlines these views, examines the institutions they are
connected to and what role these organizations are playing or have played in the current crisis.

In our view, the composition of the group is astonishing. It is hard to imagine a clearer example of
privileged access to decision-makers by vested interests. The report’s conclusion stresses a point
repeatedly made by transparency campaigners over the years: privileged access by corporations
should end and a new open culture of expert advice introduced.

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Jacques de Larosière


Senior advocate of “common sense” over regulation

Co-Chair of banking industry lobby group

10 years as an advisor to BNP Paribas
Jacques de Larosière is a highly regarded senior figure within the banking
industry. He was Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) in the 1980s. He was then Governor of the Bank of France. During
the 1990s he was head of the European Bank of Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD), which was established to support economic
reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, and is widely seen as a driver of
privatization. He resigned from the EBRD in 1998.

From 1998 until July 2008, he advised Michel Pébereau, the Chairman of BNP Paribas, one of
Europe’s major banks. BNP Paribas was the first European bank to sound the alarm in August
2007. The bank froze €1.6 billion, citing uncertainty as the reason. BNP Paribas said it was unable
to assess the value of the investments in asset-backed securities and barred investors from cashing
in on them. However, BNP Paribas lost comparatively little compared to its competitors and is in a
strong position today. BNP Paribas may be the largest deposit bank in Europe and, consequently,
has a very high stake in EU decision-making.

No more regulation, just “more common sense”

Jacques de Larosière is also the Co-Chair of Eurofi, a Paris-based think tank and lobby group,
which is “dedicated to the integration and efficiency of EU Financial, Insurance and Banking
Services markets”.7

Eurofi was set up in 2000 “with the aim of “Don’t jump to hasty
contributing to the convergence of views conclusions... Many of the between practitioners and public institutions
regarding the integration of the European required improvements
capital market.” Its membership includes

should be the result of

many key players in the financial sector:
Axa, Aviva, BNP Paribas, Cassa Depositi E better standards and
Prestiti, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, principles agreed upon Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne,
CNP Assurances, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, by the industry.”
Deutsche Bank, NYSE Euronext, Goldman
Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, La Banque Jacques de Larosière, March 2008
Postale, Société Générale, and the European
Investment Bank. 8

In March 2008, de Larosière wrote an article posted on the website of Eurofi on “The present
financial crisis, a tentative list of possible avenues”. Included in his recommendations were that
“banks should give priority to risk assessment and management”; that “the ‘parallel banking
system’ should be required to abide by minimum reporting obligations”; and that “the positive
aspects of securitization, which has an important role to play, need to be strengthened”. His final
note warns against “jumping to hasty conclusions”.

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
By his own admission, most of his recommendations “do not require more regulation”. Instead,
what is needed is a “more common sense in the implementation of existing rules”. “Many of the
required improvements” he says, “should be the result of better standards and principles agreed
upon by the industry” (emphasis added).9

Jacques de Larosière’s statements show a clear preference for “self-regulation” of financial services
institutions. This is a very different message from what most independent analysts of the financial
crisis are saying, which is that the lack of oversight and control on banks contributed significantly
to the current crisis. His thinking is similar to the major banks in Europe, one of which, BNP
Paribas, he has had a long-standing relationship with.

Callum McCarthy



Chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority, 2003 –
2008

Presided over FSA’s “systematic failure of duty” over
recently nationalized UK bank, Northern Rock

Failed to see risky business models

Previously worked for banks such as Barclays
Sir Callum McCarthy was Chairman of the UK financial regulator, the
Financial Services Authority (FSA), from September 2003 to September
2008. He previously held senior positions in Barclays Bank and the private
bank Kleinwort Benson, as well the UK Department for Trade and Industry.

Northern Rock: “not just sleeping, you were comatose”

In early 2007 as the financial crisis began to intensify, the FSA, under McCarthy, was still arguing
for “light touch” regulation for hedge funds, seen as a key driver of financial instability.10 In autumn
2007, McCarthy said the growing calls for increased regulation of the financial services industry
were a “mad dog” reaction.11 By then the European Central Bank had already pumped €95billion
into the market to improve liquidity and the UK had experienced a run on a bank, Northern Rock.

Early in the crisis the FSA reassured people that Northern Rock was “solvent.”12 Economics
journalist Alex Brummer, author of The Crunch, noted that the FSA’s “actions suggested it hadn’t a
clue about the weakness of the Rock’s securitization model.”13

The FSA was widely seen as the regulatory authority with the most to blame for allowing Northern
Rock to fail. It was accused by the British MP John McFall, head of the influential Treasury
Select Committee, of “not just sleeping, you were comatose” over Northern Rock.14 The
Treasury Committee’s report on the scandal determined that the FSA had “systematically failed in
its duty.” “The failure of Northern Rock, while a failure of its own board, was also a failure of its
regulator,” it said.15

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
McCarthy’s refusal to accept responsibility for the FSA’s role in Northern Rock’s downfall angered
parliamentarians. One MP on the Committee, Sion Simon, told McCarthy: “You are the Sugar Ray
Leonard of the financial services sector; a world-class ducker and diver, bobber and weaver.”16

Silencing critics, failing to see the risks

When a senior UK politician, Liberal Democrat

“The failure of

Treasury spokesperson Vince Cable, raised concerns
about Northern Rock, it was reported that McCarthy Northern Rock, while
had tried to “gag” him. Cable said: “Sir Callum

a failure of its own

said I was scaremongering, that there was no problem
with the bank and that it had a good loan book, and board, was also a
any problems were due to international markets

failure of its regulator.”

beyond its control.”17

In February 2009, McCarthy’s ex-Deputy Chairman, UK Treasury Select Committee
Sir James Crosby, resigned from the FSA after report on Northern Rock
allegations that he had helped silence a whistleblower
from within HBOS, one of Britain’s largest
banks, who had repeatedly warned about the
excessive risk being undertaken by the bank. 18

In fact, the FSA failed to examine the risky nature of the whole banking sector. McCarthy’s
replacement at the FSA, Lord Turner, has now admitted that the FSA and other regulators had
failed to see that by 2004 the banking system was moving in a direction that created a “large
systemic risk”. “With hindsight” said Turner “the FSA was focused too much on individual
institutions .... and not adequately focused on the totality of the systemic risks across the whole
system, and whether there were entire business models, entire ways of operating, that were risky.”19

Given, McCarthy’s controversial background, it is surprising that he was picked as the only
member of the group with recent experience in banking supervision.

Otmar Issing



Orthodox monetarist views

Advisor to US giant Goldman Sachs, which has been
short-selling during the crisis
Otmar Issing has been called “Europe’s High Priest of Monetary
Orthodoxy”20 and is seen as a die-hard monetarist. After a career at the
German national bank, the Bundesbank, he joined the European Central
Bank (ECB) and was one of the key architects of the Euro. He served for
eight years on the ECB’s Executive Board and Governing Council, and as
the Bank’s chief economist.21


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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Like Leszek Balcerowicz (page 9), Otmar Issing is a member of the board of trustees of the German
Friedrich August von Hayek Foundation that promotes a neoliberal economic and social order
(Hayek is regarded as one of the founding fathers of neoliberalism).22 In 2003 Issing won the
Foundation’s International Prize along with ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 23 He is
also the president of the Center for Financial Studies, a research institute affiliated with the
University of Frankfurt. It is financed by the ”Gesellschaft für Kapitalmarktforschung” (Society for
Capital Market Research), which comprises of more than 80 banks, insurance companies,
consulting firms and commercial enterprises.24

Wall Street’s powerhouse, inside Europe

Issing retired from the ECB in June 2006. Four months later he was advising the giant investment
bank Goldman Sachs. Normally the ECB would require a 12 month “cooling-off period” to avoid
conflicts of interests, but in this case it accepted Issing’s move on the grounds that his job would be
a “loose advisory position” unconnected to
the daily business of the finance house.25

“With the nomination

It has been pointed out that Issing’s
appointment on the de Larosière panel gives to the group of Otmar
Goldman Sachs a competitive advantage in

Issing, Goldman Sachs

Europe. Financial analyst Klaus C. Engelen,
a contributing editor to The International landed a strategic coup.”
Economy, a specialized quarterly magazine
covering global financial policy, argues


Financial analyst Klaus Engelen on the de

that “with the nomination to the group of

Larosière Group

Otmar Issing, Goldman Sachs landed a
strategic coup”.26

Engelen also notes Issing’s other role as an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the
crisis, as part of a similar “expert group”. He says: “Wall Street’s powerhouse now has its own man
in the most important new European expert panels - a nightmare for main rival Deutsche Bank.”27

Did Goldman Sachs’ tactics contribute to the crisis?

Goldman Sachs’ role in the subprime crisis is markedly different from other investment banks. By
February 2007 Goldman Sachs was “poised to profit from the subprime meltdown”.28 The company
started selling the securities related to subprime loans in a move called “short-selling”, by which the
losses incurred through the falling prices on subprime loans was more than outweighed by the bet.29

Short-selling became a controversial issue in 2008 when it was used by many investors to make a
quick profit. The contribution short-selling was making to financial instability prompted several
countries to temporarily ban it. Even so, when a German expert group, under Issing’s leadership,
came up with its first proposals in November 2008, it ignored the issue of short-selling, even though
it is seen by many as a key contributing factor to the current crisis.30

The issue of short-selling might present a potential conflict of interest for Issing and his association
with Goldman Sachs in the de Larosière Group’s discussions.

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Leszek Balcerowicz


A free-market champion and advocate of deregulation

Long associated with US and EU free-market / libertarian think
tanks
Leszek Balcerowicz is a Polish economist and former chairman of the
National Bank of Poland. He is chair of the Brussels-based think tank
Bruegel, whose stated aim is “to contribute to the quality of economic
policymaking in Europe”. Its corporate members include Deutsche Bank,
Goldman Sachs, Unicredit and Fortis (one of the first European banks to
seek a state bail-out). As of February 2008, Bruegel had not registered on
the Commission’s register of lobby organizations. 31

Architect of the Polish Economy

As Poland’s Finance Minister in the early 1990s, Balcerowicz steered the country from a state
planned economy to a capitalist free market economy, with what is known as the “Balcerowicz
Plan” or, more commonly, “shock therapy”.32

His economic plan used “recipes that sound now like a caricature of Thatcherism: tight monetary
policy, free prices, privatization, cuts in the state budget”, wrote The Times in 2006.33 At the time
Balcerowicz conceded “that as a result of his plan the real income of Poles may fall by 20 per cent
next year, industrial production may drop by 5 per cent and hundreds of thousands of workers may
be laid off”.34 Poland’s free market capitalism also threw up “scandal after financial scandal”. As
the Washington Post wrote: “unscrupulous entrepreneurs profited from loopholes, corrupted
politicians, and made off with billions”.35

“Free market capitalism provides the greatest security”

The European Enterprise Institute, a rightwing think in Brussels gave Balcerowicz the award for
“The Greatest European Reformer 2007”. The EEI argue that, to a large extent, the financial crisis
has been created by government intervention, and that the world needs freer financial markets and
less government intervention.36

The same year, Balcerowicz was dubbed “a free-market champion” by The Wall Street Journal.37
He is “one of the great heroes of liberalism in the world” according to Ed Crane, founder and
President of the think tank, the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that promotes deregulated
markets and limited government, with which Balcerowicz has had a long association.

For example, in April 2007, the Washington Post
noted that “Balcerowicz was at the Cato Institute in “One of the great
Washington doing what he likes best -spreading
the gospel of free markets” and outlining the heroes of liberalism
“intellectual arguments for deregulation, privatization in the world.”
and lower taxes”.38

Ed Crane, founder and President of

These arguments have proved disastrously wrong. In

the Cato Institute

March 2007 Cato senior fellow, Daniel J. Mitchell “a
top expert on tax reform” wrote: “Listen up, Gordon

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Brown and George Osborne [UK Conservative shadow chancellor]… Tax reform and economic
liberalization have helped Iceland prosper. Let’s hope that other industrial nations …. will learn
from Iceland’s success”.39 Eighteen months later, Iceland’s banking system collapsed, forcing the
government’s resignation. It became the first Western European nation for 30 years to get an IMF
loan.

Balcerowicz is also associated with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a neo-conservative
think tank.40 In one speech he said that it was “the introduction of free market capitalism that
provides the greatest security for democracy in the long run”, without which “civil society
degenerates into interest groups which endanger economic growth and poison public life.”41

Balcerowicz brings to the group a dogged promotion of deregulation backed by well organized
neoliberal networks of intellectuals and think tanks.42

Onno Ruding



Former Vice Chairman of Citicorp, now on Citigroup’s
International Advisory Committee

Warns against “a backlash of aggressive regulation”
Ruding’s career has seen him move in and out of the public and private
sectors. He worked for the International Monetary Fund and Dutch bank
AMRO before entering politics in the early 1980s, becoming Minister of
Finance under Premier Ruud Lubbers. Lubbers’ government was famed for
its deregulation and privatization agenda, and Ruding used his tenure to
draft the early liberalization of the financial sector in the Netherlands.


Throughout the 1990s, Ruding worked for
Citicorp, now Citigroup, becoming Vice
Chairman of Citibank in 1992.43 In the “Problems will come to
early nineties he also acted as a lobbyist,

light in the United States and

for Dutch and European employers
especially, on issues of corporate taxation. maybe also in Germany. The
He retired in 2003, although he remains on

Netherlands is expected to

Citigroup’s International Advisory
Committee.44 He is also Chairman of the remain out of that. This is
Board of the Centre for European Policy

partly thanks to our

Studies (CEPS) one of the most important
neo-liberal think tanks in Brussels.45 supervisory structure.”


For many years Citigroup was the world’s Onno Ruding on the financial crisis,
largest bank (by revenue). However, by August 2007
November 2008, it was forced to accept a
bail out from the American government,
which provided it with $20 billion in
additional capital whilst guaranteeing a
further $306 billion of Citigroup’s assets.46


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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Warning against a backlash of aggressive regulation

In the same month that Citigroup was bailed out by American taxpayers, Ruding made a speech in
which he defended liberalization saying that: “Since 1980, the world has experienced a wave of
deregulation and liberalization, particularly for financial markets and institutions. These
developments have contributed substantially to economic growth… We should take the needed
corrective actions to curtail this excessive use, but we should also avoid overreacting by a backlash
of aggressive regulation or re-regulation”.47

Ruding’s failure to predict how far and wide the financial crisis would extend was proved wrong in
the Netherlands. It contrasts with the view of others who foresaw the scale of the crisis, but who are
absent from the de Larosière Group.

Rainer Masera



Head of Lehman Brothers FIG, Italy. Parent company filed
for bankruptcy in 2008

Long time board member of the European Investment Bank,
criticized for its lack of accountability
Rainer Masera is an Italian banker. He has been on the board of the
European Investment Bank, the long-term lending institution for the EU, for
over a decade. He was formerly Central Director at the Bank of Italy, head
of the Italian Sanpaolo IMI banking group, and chairman of the former
Italian private bank, Banca Fideuram.48


Lehman Brothers’ catastrophic impact on confidence

From May 2007, Masera was also Managing Director and Chairman of Lehman Brothers’ Financial
Institutions Group in Italy.49 In September 2008 parent company Lehman Brothers filed for
bankruptcy, sending shock waves through the financial system. The bank was very exposed to
unsecured mortgages in the US subprime market, where it was said to be a “dominant force”. As
one US magazine reported: “Lehman’s crown jewel was its real-estate businesses”. However, “real
estate was where all the problems were”.50

The International Economy, noted that “The nomination to the [de Larosière] group of Rainer
Masera, a former managing director of Lehman Brothers which collapsed recently causing terrible
losses to European institutions and investors, met with sharp criticism.”51

European Investment Bank’s lack of accountability

During the 10 year period that Masera has been on the board of the European Investment Bank
(EIB), it has been the subject of much criticism: for its lack of transparency, accountability and the
potential conflicts of interests of some of its directors.52

Masera was one of those criticized in 2004 for his potential conflict of interest. At the time he was
President of the Italian bank Sanpaolo IMI which received more than €800million in loans (not
including loans to subsidiaries) between 1995 and 2004. Sanpaolo IMI was also the majority
shareholder in two other EIB intermediary banks: Slovenia’s Koper and Hungary’s Inter-Europa.
An article in EuroMoney noted, under the headline ‘Doubts about transparency’ that “Directors

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
have to declare their other directorships internally and abstain from discussing any matter that might
raise conflicts of interest for them. But potential conflicts have not been made public.”53

The problems at EIB did not escape the attention of Europe’s politicians. In 2004, Spanish MEP
Mónica Ridruejo prepared a controversial draft report for the European Parliament’s Committee on
Economic and Monetary Affairs on the activity of the EIB. It noted that the bank “failed to comply
with good governance rules” and criticized its policy on conflicts of interest and risk management.54

BankWatch has argued that the “EIB has shown a notable disregard for addressing a number of
important policy issues”, including transparency and accountability.55 Friends of the Earth called
EIB “a ghost bank, which is in no way properly accountable to the people who fund it.”56

Until recently Masera held a senior position at Lehman’s, which encouraged unsustainable risk
taking. The same concerns that have dogged the EIB, with which he has been closely associated for
a decade - over transparency and accountability - are now being directed at the de Larosière Group.

José Pérez Fernández



President of a financial market intelligence company, which counts big banks as
clients. He also previously worked for BBVA
José Pérez Fernández has spent most of his career working for Banco de España, the national bank
of Spain.57 He then moved to the private sector to Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) 58
where he was Managing Director.59

He is currently the chairman of InterMoney, a web-based service specializing in currencies and
bonds.60 InterMoney is a project of IDEAglobal which is “a leading supplier of independent and
impartial advice” to banks. It claims that “of the 50 largest financial institutions as ranked by
Euromoney, all but four are clients of IDEAglobal”.61

Lars Nyberg



Warns against becoming “overzealous about regulation”

Opposed to regulation of hedge funds, which he thinks didn’t contribute to the
crisis

Worked for decades in the private banking sector
Lars Nyberg spent two decades in the private financial sector before becoming Deputy Governor of
the Swedish central bank, Riksbanken in 1999.

Nyberg acknowledges that the present crisis calls for further regulation, but warns repeatedly
against becoming “overzealous about regulation”.62 Lately he has suggested that there’s a need for
more regulation on investment banks, but in January 2008 he also denied the need for the regulation
of hedge funds.63 He has been and remains fundamentally favorable to the creation of very
complicated financial products, but emphasizes the need for transparency and “clear and continuous
pricing information.”64

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
Conclusion


An economic recession on the scale predicted should lead to radical and comprehensive reform of
the financial industry. Certain regulations, structures and procedures need to be put in place to
ensure that a crisis of this kind never happens again. To identify such reforms, Europe’s leaders
must not just listen to the views of those closely associated with the present system, or with the
financial giants whose interests have generally been accommodated in the past.

In these terms, the de Larosière Group is clearly a failure. It seems designed to produce a result that
will be no real challenge to the present financial architecture. Four members are closely linked to
giant financial corporations, such as Goldman Sachs, BNP, Lehman Brothers and Citigroup. A fifth
was the head of the UK Financial Services Authority that completely failed in its supervision of
Northern Rock. A sixth member is a fierce enemy of regulation, and a seventh works for a company
that relies on banks. On top of this, most of the members of the Group support strong monetarist,
neoliberal and de-regulatory policies that many analysts are saying created the financial crisis.

There are numerous reforming ideas and proposals being discussed by different groups in society
that cannot be expected to be addressed by this group because of its composition. For instance, there
is the strong debate in the European Parliament on the regulation of capital and equity funds, which
could have been raised had an MEPs or independent experts been on the Group. Other ideas include
the various proposals for supervision of the financial sector put forward by UNI-Finance65, a trade
union body in the financial sector. The views of consumer organizations are also absent.

The Commission’s own codes of conduct hold it responsible for ensuring broad representation in
expert groups. However, this is far from standard practice.66 As recent research by Friends of the
Earth Europe has shown, the de Larosière Group is typical of the general trend of corporate
dominance in the High Level Groups set up by the Commission.67

With the de Larosière Group, the Commission has repeated the mistakes of the past. It has set up a
High Level Group dominated by the very kind of people that created the crisis in the first place. It
could have taken the opportunity to consult widely to try and create a more democratic and stable
financial system. But instead of a broader public policy debate, the Commission has again gone for
a process ‘behind closed doors’. This puts policy-making on a key issue for all Europeans into the
hands of a small group of experts with strong connections to the financial industry. The de
Larosière Group highlights once again the vice-like grip the financial lobby has on decision making
in the European Union.68

The fact that such a group has been selected to play a key role in the EU debate on the response to
the crisis is deeply worrying. Policy capture by vested interests results in flawed policies and
regulations. It is time to end the privileged access to decision makers enjoyed by the powerful
financial lobby, and more generally to curb the power corporations sector hold over the political
process in the European Union.

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Would you bank on them? Why we shouldn’t trust the EU’s financial “wise men”
References


1



1 Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Speech at the Institute of International
and European Affairs, Dublin, February 9, 2009.
2 Mandate of the group, which has been interpreted broadly and covers both supervision and regulation, can be seen at
the Commissions website; ‘High Level Group on EU Financial Supervision to hold its first meeting on 12 November’,
press release from the European Commission, November 11, 2008.
3 J. M. Barroso, It is possible to overcome this difficult situation, Government of the Czech Republic, Press Advisories,
February 12, 2009.
4 Charlie McCreevy, Financial Markets & Economic Recovery - Restoring Confidence and responding to public
concerns, 7th Annual Financial Services Conference Brussels, January 27, 2009.


Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Speech at the Institute of International
and European Affairs, Dublin, February 9, 2009.
6 Charlie McCreevy, Financial Markets & Economic Recovery - Restoring Confidence and responding to public
concerns, 7th Annual Financial Services Conference Brussels, January 27, 2009.
7 Eurofi website -http://www.eurofi.net/who.php
8 Eurofi website -http://www.eurofi.net/who.php
9 Jacques de Larosière, The present financial crisis : Why has the system derailed? Some thoughts on securitization,
March, 2008.

Melanie Wold, Letting hedge funds be hedge funds: FSA tries to show rest of Europe that a light touch is enough,
Securities Industry News, February 12, 2007.
11 Sean O’Grady, FSA chief warns clamour for regulation is ‘mad dog’ reaction, The Independent, October 22, 2007,
p40.12
Alex Brummer, “Watchdog that failed to bark”, Daily Mail, November 21, 2007, p75.
13 Alex Brummer, “Watchdog that failed to bark”, Daily Mail, November 21, 2007, p75.
14 Richard Northedge, The rise of The rise of John McFall, credit crisis key figure, The Sunday Telegraph, December
16, 2007, p6; Sam Fleming, City interview: the TSE’s John McFall, Daily Mail, August 7, 2008, p74.

Christine Seib, MPs demand new regulator as FSA stands condemned, The Times, January 26, 2008, p52.
16 Hansard, Uncorrected Transcript of Oral Evidence to be Published as HC 999-ii, House of Commons, Minutes of
Evidence, Taken before Treasury committee, Financial Stability and Transparency, October 9, 2007.
17
Financial Watchdog boss ‘tried to gag MP’ over Rock crisis alert, Mail on Sunday, February 24, 2008, Section FB,
p2.18 Nick Mathiason Heather Connon, Richard Wachman, Banking’s Big question: why didn’t anyone stop them?, The
Observer, Business Section, 15 February, 2009, p4-5.
19Terry Macalister, City watchdog chief admits regulators failed to spot looming financial disaster, The Guardian, 16
February, 2009.

See for instance: Outgoing Euro chief warns of tensions, Daily Telegraph, May 31, 2006.
21 Otmar Issing’s intervention at the conference Lessons from the Subprime Crisis at the Cato Institute – an institute
closely connected to the ideas of Milton Friedman, November 19, 2008.
22 See the website of the foundation: www.hayek-stiftung.de/115.html.
23 Friedrich-August-von-Hayek-Foundation, Recipients of the Friedrich-August-von-Hayek-Foundation, Press Release,
March 7, 2003.
24 See the website of the Center for Financial Studies, http://www.ifk-cfs.de/index.php?id=12 and http://www.ifkcfs.
de/index.php?id=120.

Former ECB chief economist Issing accepts advisory post at Goldman Sachs, AFP, October 16, 2006.
26 Klaus C. Engelen, Barely contained outrage: what the Europeans really think about America’s regulatory blunders,
The International Economy, September 22, 2008.
27 Klaus C. Engelen, Barely contained outrage: what the Europeans really think about America’s regulatory blunders,
The International Economy, September 22, 2008.
28 Kate Kelly, How Goldman profited from subprime meltdown, Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2007.
29 Jenny Anderson & Landon Thomas jr, Goldman Sachs rakes in profit in credit crisis”, New York Times, November
19, 2007.

Pressestatements von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, Bundesfinanzminister Steinbrück und dem Vorsitzenden der
Expertengruppe „Weltfinanzmarkt“, Issing, zum Weltfinanzgipfel, November 14, 2008. Pierre Paulden and Caroline
Salas, Goldman targeted by investor complaints of naked short selling, Bloomberg, November 17, 2008. Bill Saporito,
Are short sellers to blame for the financial crisis, Time, September 18, 2008.
31
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/transparency/regrin/consultation/search.do#searchResult
32
His history in government and think tank based opposition is covered by Dorothee Bohle and Gisela Neunhöffer:
Why is there no third way? The role of neoliberal ideology, networks and think tanks in combating market socialism
and shaping transformation in Poland, p.89-104 in: Plehwe, Dieter, Walpen, Bernhard, Neunhöffer, Gisela, eds., 2006,
Neoliberal hegemony: a global critique, Routledge.
33 Bronwen Maddox, Can we bank on Poland to look back -or forward?, The Times, October 13, 2006, p43

34 Steven Greenhouse, ‘Shock therapy’ for Poland: jolt might be too damaging, The New York Times, December 26,
1989, Section D; p1.


35 Konstanty Gebert, ‘Shock’ crock; Poland’s overrated reforms’, The Washington Post, May 2, 1993.
36 European Enterprise Institute website -http://www.european-enterprise.org/
37 Joellen Perry, “Poland’s top banker is seen as a step back”, Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2007, p2.
38 Steven Pearlstein, “Poland’s economic revolutionary”, Washington Post, April 11, Financial, D01, 2007, p2.
39 Daniel J. Mitchell, Why Tax Havens Are a Blessing, March 17, 2008.
40 American Enterprise Institute; event ‘American Economic Way; Its Character, Effectiveness, and Applicability, 22-23
October 2004, Warsaw, Poland.
41 Leszek Balcerowicz, Atlantic Economics, speech at the Congress of Prague, May 12, 1996.
42
See Plehwe, Dieter and Bernhard Walpen, Between network and complex organization: the making of neoliberal
knowledge and hegemony, 27-50 in: Plehwe, Dieter, Walpen, Bernhard, Neunhöffer, Gisela, eds., 2006, Neoliberal
hegemony: a global critique, Routledge
43
Onno Ruding’s CV, RTL group website, accessed 23 February 2009.
44 Onno Ruding’s profile, Forbes website, accessed 23 February 2009.
45
Onno Ruding’s CV, RTL group website, accessed 23 February 2009.
46
Citi soars as $300bn bail-out is agreed, Financial Times, November 25, 2008.
47 The international financial crisis, Introductory note, H. Onno Ruding, Trilateral Commission (Europe), Meeting in
Paris on November 8, 2008.
48
Reiner Masera’s CV, EIB website, accessed 23 February 2009.
49 Siobhan Kennedy, Lehman Brothers appoints Italy Director - Rainer Masera, A banking veteran, will head Lehman’s
Financial Institutions Group in Italy, The Times, May 22, 2007.
50 Steve Fishman, Burning down his house - is Lehman CEO Dick Fuld the true villain in the collapse of Wall Street, or
is he being sacrificed for the sins of his peers? New York Magazine, November 30, 2008; Phillip Inman, Q&A: The
collapse of Lehman Brothers, The Guardian, September 15, 2008.
51 Klaus Engelen, Barely Contained Outrage: What The Europeans Really Think About America’s Regulatory
Blunders, The International Economy, September 22, 2008.
52 Jon Ungoed-Thomas & Nicola Smith, “EU ‘Ghost’ Bank Is Under Fire”, Sunday Times, Quoted in The Australian,
September 8, 2004, p33.
53 Mark Brown, ‘Calling the EIB to Account’, Euromoney, May 2004; Giles Tremlett, Conflicts at the heart of the EIB,
The Observer, March 7, 2004.
54 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Draft Report on the Activity Report of the European Investment
Bank, Rapporteur: Mónica Ridruejo, 2004/2012(INI)); Mark Brown, ‘Calling the EIB to Account’, Euromoney, May
2004.
55 CEE Bankwatch Network & Heinrich Böll Foundation, Brussels Office, The European Investment Bank:
Accountable Only to the Market? EU-Policy Paper No. 1, December 1999
56 Jon Ungoed-Thomas & Nicola Smith, ‘EU ‘Ghost’ bank is under fire’, Sunday Times, Quoted in The Australian,
September 8, 2004, p33
57 El Economista, El español José Pérez formará parte del grupo encargado de proponer mejoras en la supervisión
financiera’, October 22, 2008.
58 Finanzas.com, Barroso pide mayor coordinación financiera en UE como base de acuerdo global, October 22, 2008.
59 Cinco Dias, September 29, 1998 .
60 Intermoney website -http://www.intermoney.com/
61 IDEAglobal website – http://www.ideaglobal.com/products/info/about.html.
62
The Financial Crisis, Speech by Mr Lars Nyberg, Deputy Governor of the Sveriges Riksbank, at HQ Bank, 15
October 2008.
63 Lars Nyberg; Hedge Funds and the Recent Financial Turmoil, January 28, 2008.
64 ‘The Financials Crisis’, 2008.
65 See for instance A Complementary Bottom-Up Approach For Financial Supervision, UNI-Finance, November 3,
2008.
66 See for instance COM (2002) 704 and COM (2002) 713. See also the ALTER-EU’s press release Commission to
NGOs: business rules OK, December 16, 2008.
67 Christine Pohl, Whose Views Count, Friends of the Earth Europe, February 2009.
68 For the fundamental lack of democracy, accountability and transparency in European decision-making processes on
financial market issues see also Myriam Vander Stichele, Financial Regulations in the European Union. Mapping EU
Decision Making Structures on Financial Regulation and Supervision. Report commissioned by Eurodad, WEED,
Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale and Bretton Woods Project, December 2008.

GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG (Ökobank)

Ökobank

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Die Ökobank eG war eine deutsche Genossenschaftsbank, deren Initiatoren sich aus der Nachrüstungsdebatte der 1980er Jahre und der aufkeimenden Umweltbewegung im Rahmen der Auseinandersetzung um Alternative Ökonomie rekrutierten und warb mit Leitsätzen wie „Alternativen sind möglich“ und „kein Geld in die Rüstung“. Die Ökobank eG wurde 2003 aufgrund einer selbstverursachten wirtschaftlichen Schieflage von der GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG übernommen.

Ziele der Ökobank waren die Bereitstellung von Finanzmitteln für die damals aufkommenden alternativen Betriebe, die zu jener Zeit noch nicht von traditionellen Banken unterstützt wurden, und die Entwicklungsförderung in der so genannten Dritten Welt. Gemäß der Satzung sollte der „Förderung von Betrieben und Projekten auf dem Gebiet der Selbstverwaltung, des Genossenschaftswesen, der Ökologie und des Friedens ... besondere Bedeutung beigemessen (werden)“.[1] Das Bankgeschäft wurde deswegen in einen Förderbereich und einen Normalbereich unterteilt.

Mit der Gründung der Ökobank waren Visionen von einem „alternativen Wirtschaftskreislauf“ verbunden. Die Ökobank sollte die finanziellen Mittel bereitstellen, um einen solchen Kreislauf in Gang zu setzen.

Der am 17. März 1984 gegründete Verein Freunde und Förderer der Ökobank hatte die Aufgabe, das Gründungskapital zu sammeln, ein Bankkonzept zu entwickeln und die Zulassung der Bank zu erreichen. Die Frage der Einlagensicherung erwies sich von Anfang an als schwierig. Schließlich konnte die Ökobank mit Erlaubnis des Bundesaufsichtsamts für das Kreditwesen und mit einem Genossenschaftskapital von 7,8 Millionen DM, das von rund 12.700 Treugeber/innen zur Verfügung gestellt wurde, am 31. März 1988 in das Register eingetragen und am 2. Mai 1984 in Frankfurt am Main gegründet werden.[2]

Das Konzept umfasste alle traditionellen Bankgeschäfte mit Ausnahme der Forfaitierung und des Effekten- und Depotgeschäfts. Sie bot Sparbücher, Umweltsparbriefe und Kredite an, deren Obergrenze auf maximal 750.000 DM je Kunde festgesetzt war. Das Gesamtkreditvolumen blieb auf 60 Prozent der Bilanzsumme beschränkt oder durfte nicht höher als das Dreifache des Eigenkapitals sein.[3]

Nach jahrelangen Verhandlungen erfolgte im Jahr 1996 die Aufnahme in den Einlagensicherungsfonds des Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken (BVR), wobei der damals bestehende Verlustvortrag von 3,3 Mio. DM anderweitig abgesichert werden musste. Letzteres gelang durch die Zeichnung von Sicherungsbriefen durch 542 Mitglieder.[4] Dadurch waren die Voraussetzungen für eine Erweiterung des Kreditgeschäftes gegeben.

In den Jahren 1999 und 2000 geriet die Ökobank durch Managementfehler in eine finanzielle Schieflage. Sie hatte zu dieser Zeit ein Bilanzvolumen von 380 Millionen DM und 24.000 Mitglieder. Zur Sanierung wurde das Bankgeschäft zunächst an die Bankaktiengesellschaft (BAG) Hamm ausgegliedert. Nach zweijährigen Verhandlungen wurde dieses Anfang 2003 von der GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG übernommen.[5][6] Die abgewerteten Geschäftsanteile der Ökobank wurden in neue Anteile an der Finanzdienstleistungsgenossenschaft Oekogeno umgewandelt. Einmalig dabei war, dass der Einlagensicherungsfonds einen Teil des Verlustes den Mitgliedern aufbürdete.




A brief portrait of the GLS Bank


The GLS Bank was the first social and ecological bank in Germany. GLS stands for "Gemeinschaftsbank für Leihen und Schenken", which translates as "community bank for loans and gifts". The bank was founded in 1974 and it currently finances around 6.500 projects and businesses.

The Bank focuses on cultural, social and ecological projects which try to tackle challenges in our society by developing creative solutions. Loans are offered to projects like independent schools and kindergartens, organic farms, institutions using therapeutic pedagogy, nursing homes, projects for the unemployed, health-food stores and communal living projects, as well as sustainable businesses. Transparency is one of the key aims of the GLS: details of all initiatives that receive loans are published in its magazine "Bankspiegel>>", together with information on the development of the bank itself.
As of 31 December 2008 the balance sheet total was 1013 million EUR.

The GLS Bank offers its savers the usual range of financial products:

  • Current Accounts
  • GLS Savings Accounts
  • GLS Savings Certificates
  • Investment funds
  • Bank Membership

What distinguishes the GLS Bank is not only the fact that the GLS invest their savers’ money responsibly, but also that savers with the GLS can choose the area in which their money will be invested.

Moreover, when customers choose reduced interest payments for their savings, the GLS Bank is able to grant loans to charitable projects with an interest rate that only covers the basic loan administration costs of the bank (in 2009: 3.4 % p.a.).

The work of the bank is supported by more than 14.000 cooperative members.

The GLS Bank has its head office in Bochum and has established branches in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Hamburg, Munic and Berlin. GLS cooperates with the GLS Treuhand in Bochum and the GLS Beteiligungsaktiengesellschaft. The bank is part of the German "Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken" and has signed up to their guarantee system for the depositors’ money.

GLS Treuhand
The GLS Treuhand>> (GLS Charitable Trust Foundation), founded in 1961, is an association of more than 288 (Dec 2008) charitable organizations. The GLS Treuhand has comprehensive experience in the arrangement of donations and large fortunes and in handling wills and estates. Its main areas of activity are fundraising, consultation regarding private legacies and transforming business into charitable capital. At present major emphasis is placed on small private donations.

The GLS Treuhand acts as a charitable trust administrating various foundations and it is supporting the social, ecological and cultural aims of its charitable member-organizations. As of 31 December 2008 the business volumel was 70,97 million EUR.

With the 5 “Foundations for the Future” (“Zukunftsstiftungen”) the GLS Treuhand is engaged in the areas of

  • Agriculture
  • Development aid
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Social welfare

GLS Beteiligungsaktiengesellschaft (BAG)
The GLS Beteiligungsaktiengesellschaft (BAG) was founded in 1995 and is a subsidiary owned by the GLS Bank. Its objective is to assist companies with finding equity capital and its share capital amounts to 3,2 million EUR. The BAG has issued funds for renewable energy and the social economy. One example is a fund which was used to purchase the power-supply-system in Schönau, a small town situated in the Black Forest in Germany. A substantial part of the BAG investments consists of windmill parks, a growing source of energy in Germany.

For further information
Please send us an email.
Find here the Annual Report 2008 of GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand (4,5 MB)>>

Contact
Bochum
PO box 10 08 29 D-44708 Bochum
Visiting address: Christstr. 9, 44789 Bochum
phone: +49-234-5797-0
fax: +49-234-5797-133

Berlin
Schumannstr. 10, D-10117 Berlin
phone: +49-30- 5268858-80
fax: +49-30-5268858-88

Frankfurt
Am Hauptbahnhof 6 D-60329 Frankfurt am Main
phone: +49-69-2 56 10-0
fax: +49-69-2 56 10-169

Freiburg
Merzhauser Str. 177, D-79100 Freiburg
phone: +49-761-7 66 18-77
fax: +49-761-7 66 18-76

Hamburg
Mittelweg 147 D-20148 Hamburg
phone: +49-40-41 47 62-0
fax: +49-40-41 47 62-44

München
Herzog-Heinrich-Str. 18, D-80336 München
phone:+49-89-544162-0
fax: +49-89-544162-33

Stuttgart
Egonsplatz 5 D-70184 Stuttgart
phone: +49-711-23895-0
fax +49-711-2389555

Weltweite partnerschaftliche Zusammenarbeit

Die GLS Bank arbeitet weltweit mit Verbänden und Organisationen zusammen, die in den GLS-Arbeitsschwerpunkten tätig sind. Wir tauschen uns regelmäßig über aktuelle Entwicklungen und Vorhaben aus. So bleiben wir in Zeitfragen immer auf dem Laufenden und können wegweisende Impulse setzen.

Zu unseren Partnern gehören

Belgien
INAISE (International Association
of Investors in the Social Economy)
Brüssel
tel: + 32-2-230 16 07
fax: + 32-2-230 49 65
e-Mail: inaise(at)inaise.org
www.inaise.org

Dänemark
Merkur
Kopenhagen
tel +45-70-27 27 06
fax +45-70-27 27 06
e-mail kbh(at)merkurbank.dk
www.merkurbank.dk

Deutschland
Gemeinnützige Treuhandstelle Hamburg e.V.
tel +49-40-41 47 62 0
e-mail gts(at)treuhandstelle-hh.de
www.treuhandstelle-hh.de

Institute for Social Banking
tel +49-234-57 97 185
fax +49-234 -57 97 188
e-mail info(at)social-banking.org
www.social-banking.org

World Future Council
Hamburg
tel +49-40-30 70 914-0
fax +49-40-30 70 914-14
e-mail: info(at)worldfuturecouncil.org
www.worldfuturecouncil.org

Frankreich
Société Financière de la NEF (Nouvelle Economie Fraternelle)
Bureau principal
Bourbon L'Archambault
tel +33-4-70 67 18 50
fax +33-4-70 67 18 54
e-mail: lanef(at)lanef.com
www.lanef.com

Société Financière de la NEF (Nouvelle Economie Fraternelle)
Bureau de Paris
Paris
tel +33-1-44 87 97 00
fax +33-1-44 87 97 04
e-mail: paris(at)lanef.com

Italien
Banca Etica
tel +39-49-8771111
fax +39-49-664922
www.bancaetica.com

Neuseeland
The Prometheus Foundation
Napier
tel +64-6-8 35 71 38
fax +64-6-8 35 24 28

Niederlande
Oikocredit International
Amersfoort
tel +31-33-422 40 40
fax +31-33-465 03 36
e-mail info(at)oikocredit.org
www.oikocredit.org

Triodos Bank
Zeist
tel +31-30-693 65 00
fax +31-30-693 65 55
e-mail: info(at)triodos.nl
www.triodos.nl

Norwegen
Cultura sparebank
Oslo
tel +47-22 36 17 90
fax +47-22 36 17 95
e-mail: cultura(at)cultura.no
www.cultura.no

Schweden
Ekobanken
Järna
tel +46-8-551-714 70
fax +46-8-551-749 90
e-mail info(at)ekobanken.se
www.ekobanken.se

Schweiz
ABS (Alternative Bank Schweiz)
Olten
tel. +41-62-2061616
fax +41-62- 206 16 17
www.abs.ch

Freie Gemeinschaftsbank
Basel
tel +41-61-2698100
fax +41-61-2698149
e-mail: info(at)gemeinschaftsbank.ch
www.gemeinschaftsbank.ch

USA
Rudolf Steiner Foundation

New York
tel +1-518-672 44 14
fax +1-518-672 42 14

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919)

Name: Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919)
Studium: Naturwissenschaften, Ökonomie, Philosophie, Jura
Abschluss: Doktorin der Ökonomie
Beruf: SPD-Politikerin, KPD-Gründerin
Nebenjob: Journalistin
Kernkompetenz: Revolution machen
Besondere Vorkommnisse: wurde am 15. Januar 1919 ermordet
Wichtigste Auszeichnung: Dissertation über »Die industrielle Entwicklung Polens« mit magna cum laude.
An der Jahreswende 1918/19 gründete sie mit Karl Liebknecht die Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands. Dass es führende Sozialdemokraten waren, die Mitverantwortung an ihrer Ermordung in Berlin im Januar 1919 trugen – das hätte sie sich wohl kaum jemals vorstellen können.
ZEIT ONLINE 29.5.2009 - 16:52 Uhr [http://www.zeit.de/online/2009/23/rosa-luxemburg-leiche]

Mysteriöse Leiche
"Rosa Luxemburg wurde nie begraben"

Von Dagny Lüdemann
Der Leiter der Berliner Rechtsmedizin, Michael Tsokos, hat an seinem Institut eine Jahrzehnte alte Wasserleiche gefunden. Er hält sie für die echte Rosa Luxemburg. Ein Interview mit dem Pathologen

Alles begann mit einer unidentifizierten Wasserleiche, die seit Jahrzehnten im Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Berliner Charité liegt. Ohne Kopf, ohne Hände und Füße – und ohne einen Zettel dran, woher dieser Körper stammt und wann er gefunden wurde.

Für eine Ausstellung über die Geschichte der Rechtsmedizin hatte Institutsleiter Michael Tsokos Anfang 2007 den Fundus durchstöbert. Dabei entdeckte er die getrocknete und dadurch mumifizierte Wasserleiche einer Frau.

Genau wie die Leiche hatten auch Gerüchte am Institut die Jahrzehnte überdauert: Angeblich soll es sich bei der Toten um Rosa Luxemburg handeln, die 1919 nach ihrer Ermordung aus dem Berliner Landwehrkanal gefischt wurde. Doch wer ist die Tote, die offiziell als Rosa Luxemburg obduziert und auf dem Friedhof Berlin-Friedrichsfelde begraben wurde? ZEIT ONLINE sprach mit Michael Tsokos über seine Vermutung.

ZEIT ONLINE: Herr Professor Tsokos, wie sind Sie überhaupt auf die mysteriöse Wasserleiche gestoßen?

Michael Tsokos: Die Leiche liegt seit etwa 90 Jahren hier am Institut herum. Früher war es Usus, Leichen aus interessanten oder ungeklärten Fällen aufzubewahren. Damals konnte man Befunde noch nicht gut fotografieren und auf diese Weise archivieren – deshalb hob man die Leichen für eventuelle weitere Untersuchungen auf.

ZEIT ONLINE: Wie sind sie darauf gekommen, dass ausgerechnet diese Tote Rosa Luxemburg sein könnte? Deren Leiche wurde doch 1919 geborgen, obduziert und begraben?

Michael Tsokos: Nach meinen Recherchen bin ich mir sicher, dass die damals obduzierte und begrabene Tote nicht Rosa Luxemburg war. Als ich durch Gerüchte am Institut auf den Gedanken kam, dass es sich bei unserer Wasserleiche um die ermordete Revolutionärin handeln könnte, habe ich mir den Obduktionsbericht aus dem Jahr 1919 besorgt. Obwohl bekannt ist, dass Rosa Luxemburg zunächst niedergeschlagen und dann durch einen Kopfschuss getötet wurde, konnten die Pathologen keine Spuren eines Einschusses finden. Außerdem wurde die Leiche bei der Leichenschau nicht als Rosa Luxemburg identifiziert – lediglich vor Beginn der rechtsmedizinischen Untersuchung fällt der Name der Revolutionärin. Die litt an einer angeborenen Hüftverschiebung, wodurch ihre Beine unterschiedlich lang waren. Auch davon steht in dem Obduktionsbericht von 1919 nichts.

ZEIT ONLINE: Konnten Sie denn an der Wasserleiche aus der Charité eine solche Hüftverrenkung feststellen?

Michael Tsokos: Zumindest hat die Leiche unterschiedlich lange Beine – das lässt sich trotz der fehlenden Füße rekonstruieren. Am Leibniz-Labor für Altersbestimmung und Isotopenforschung der Uni Kiel haben wir die Wasserleiche mit der C14-Methode untersuchen lassen. Dabei kam heraus: Sie stammt aus der Zeit Rosa Luxemburgs.

ZEIT ONLINE: Reicht das als Beweis, dass es sich bei der kopflosen Toten um die Revolutionärin handelt?

Michael Tsokos: Nein. Ich würde mich auf keinen Fall hinstellen und sagen: Das hier ist Rosa Luxemburg. Aber es gibt auch keine Indizien, die dagegen sprechen. Allerdings bin ich mir ziemlich sicher, dass die 1919 obduzierte Tote jemand anders war.

ZEIT ONLINE: Was hat sich denn Ihrer Ansicht nach vor 90 Jahren zugetragen?

Michael Tsokos: Darüber kann ich nur spekulieren. Sicher ist, dass im Jahr 1919 mehrere weibliche Leichen aus dem Landwehrkanal geborgen wurden – dazu gibt es Unterlagen. Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass das damalige Militär-Regime den Fall schnell abschließen wollte. Vielleicht wurde mit Absicht irgendeine Frau obduziert und als Rosa Luxemburg begraben. Als man ihre echte Leiche fand, wurde sie einfach heimlich in die Rechtsmedizin gebracht und dort aufbewahrt. Außerdem weist unsere Wasserleiche keine Spuren einer Obduktion auf – sie wurde also offenbar nie untersucht.

ZEIT ONLINE: Wie erklären sie sich, dass Kopf, Hände und Füße der Leiche fehlen?

Michael Tsokos: Historiker berichten, dass Rosa Luxemburgs Körper mit Drahtschlingen gefesselt und mit einem Steinklotz beschwert wurde, bevor man ihn in den Kanal warf. Möglicherweise wurden Hände, Füße und der Kopf durch den Draht abgetrennt. An dem ausgetrockneten Körper der Wasserleiche lässt sich das aber nicht erkennen – das ist nur eine Vermutung.

ZEIT ONLINE: Wie ließe sich die Identität denn endgültig klären?

Michael Tsokos: Klarheit kann nur ein DNA-Test bringen. Wir haben auch tatsächlich Erbgut der Wasserleiche isoliert. Doch es fehlt eine Vergleichsprobe von Rosa Luxemburg. Am besten wäre es, wenn man einen Mantel oder einen Schal von ihr finden könnte. Vielleicht gäbe es darauf geeignete DNA-Spuren. Ich habe bereits Briefmarken aus Rosa Luxemburgs Korrespondenz untersucht – doch die waren mit Wasser, nicht mit Spucke befeuchtet worden. Auch in Archiven in Warschau und den USA konnte ich bisher keine Gebrauchsgegenstände von Rosa Luxemburg auftreiben.

ZEIT ONLINE: Könnte man nicht zumindest den in Friedrichsfelde begrabenen Leichnam exhumieren, um zu untersuchen, ob dort eine andere Frau begraben ist?

Michael Tsokos: Meines Wissens wurde das Grab bereits zu DDR-Zeiten geöffnet. Es ist leer.

Die Fragen stelle Dagny Lüdemann.
Zum Thema

DIE ZEIT 2/2009: Dr. Rosa Rot
Erst studierte sie Botanik, dann Ökonomie, danach veränderte Rosa Luxemburg die Welt. Was wäre heute aus ihr geworden? Teil 15 einer Serie über Studenten von früher.
[http://www.zeit.de/campus/2009/02/ehemalige]

DIE ZEIT 36/2008: Tatorte
Der Mordfall Liebknecht/Luxemburg: Eine Tatortbegehung in Bildern
[http://www.zeit.de/zeit-geschichte/2008/03/bg-zg-tatorte]

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Νέα θεωρία για την τελευταία κατοικία της Ρόζας Λούξεμπουργκ


Σε μια περίοδο που το δίλημμα «σοσιαλισμός ή βαρβαρότητα» έχει γίνει και πάλι επίκαιρο -τουλάχιστον εντός των ελληνικών συνόρων- ένας επιστήμονας ισχυρίζεται πως ανακάλυψε, στο υπόγειο νοσοκομείο του Βερολίνου, το σκελετό της Ρόζας Λούξεμπουργκ. Η νέα θεωρία ανατρέπει την επίσημη εκδοχή, σύμφωνα με την οποία έχει ταφεί στο νεκροταφείο Φρίντριχσφέλντε. Η «κόκκινη Ρόζα» δολοφονήθηκε τον Ιανουάριο του 1919.

Σύμφωνα με άρθρο που δημοσιεύεται στο γερμανικό εβδομαδιαίο περιοδικό Der Spiegel, ο Μάικλ Τσόκος, επικεφαλής του Ινστιτούτου Ιατρικής και Εγκληματολογίας του νοσοκομείου Charit στο Βερολίνο ανακάλυψε ένα πτώμα το οποίο δεν είχε κεφάλι, πόδια και χέρια και βρισκόταν μέσα σε ένα ξύλινο φέρετρο στο υπόγειο του νοσοκομείου.

Η νεκροψία που πραγματοποίησε του φάνηκε "ύποπτη" και αποφάσισε να προχωρήσει την έρευνα του κάνοντας τεστ στον τομογράφο. Το αποτέλεσμα ήταν "εκπληκτικό", αφού το σώμα φαινόταν να έχει μείνει μέσα σε νερό αρκετό καιρό, ενώ άνηκε σε μία γυναίκα ηλικίας 40 έως 50 ετών, η οποία υπέφερε από οστεοαρθρίτιδα και τα πόδια της είχαν διαφορετικό μήκος.

Το γεγονός ότι τα χέρια και τα πόδια του λείπουν αποτελεί σημάδι ότι υπέφερε από σκληρά βασανιστήρια. Σύμφωνα με τον Μάικλ Τσόκος το μυστηριώδες σώμα παρουσιάζει καταπληκτικές ομοιότητες με την Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ και όπως φαίνεται θα συνεχίσει τις έρευνες, αφού αμφιβάλλει ότι η "Κόκκινη Ρόζα" αναπαύεται στον τάφο της στο Βερολίνο.

η συνέχεια στό..:Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919)

Πέμπτη, 28 Μαΐου 2009

"The Sharks of Finance vote FDP"

SPD shark attack loses bite

Published on May 24 2009 | Presseurop

"The Sharks of Finance vote FDP", the controversial SPD election poster.

Seeking to portray itself as a champion of social justice, Germany's Social Democratic party has been running an aggressive campaign for the June elections. In a country wary of sloganeering, its recent posters have provoked heated debate.

An ostensibly simplistic image of a shark in a shirt and tie has caused an outcry in German politics. The poster shows a cartoon shark ready for a day at the office. The caption reads: “The sharks of finance vote FDP.” The Social Democratic Party (SDP) was hoping the slogan targeting the German economic liberal party would boost its campaign for the forthcoming European elections. But it has attracted a storm of criticism not just from the SDP’s potential political allies, but also from an astonished press.

The Germans, who are used to politically correct election campaigns, were amazed to see a major party in government launch such an aggressive attack on its competitors; all the more so because the liberal shark is just one of a series. Two more posters portray a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) voter as a ‘coin-headed’ figure in favour of wage dumping, and a ‘hairdryer-headed’ figure, representing Die Linke (The Left) party voters, ready to support the cause of “hot air.”

Today, the daily Die Welt accused the SPD of resorting to Nazi metaphors: “These posters are reminiscent of the vermin metaphors,” extensively used by Joseph Goebbels. “Ever since SPD voters punished their party for the Schröder government reforms, even matter-of-fact politicians have begun to look for scapegoats rather than draw attention to their own merits,” the conservative daily noted. “The fact that this latest campaign fails to live up to the party’s own norms of aesthetics or rhetoric is a reflection of a crisis on the left.” It concluded with the assertion that the SPD had betrayed its heritage: “No one is suggesting that the SPD has a fascist concept of human beings. But we have to ask how such a thing could happen to a political party whose members were imprisoned in camps, and driven to suicide by Nazi propaganda. What can explain this lack of culture and historical ignorance?”

In a parallel development that will further embarrass SPD party leaders, Die Welt also reported that the extreme right party NPD in Saxony has claimed it owns the copyright to the electoral campaign against financial sharks. At the same time, the weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported on growing irritation among young liberals, some of whom have chosen to counterattack on the web. One of the posts targeting the SPD on Twitter shows a virtually empty poster and suggests using the slogan, “No one wants to vote SPD,” or “Only an amnesiac could vote SPD.” The graphics for this initiative have yet to be uploaded.

Die Reißer der SPD

Wahlkampfattacke

Die Reißer der SPD

Veröffentlicht am 24 Mai 2009 | Presseurop

Das Plakat der SPD

Im Wahlkampf geben sich die Sozialdemokraten als Partei der sozialen Gerechtigkeit und ungewöhnlich streitsüchtig. Damit trafen sie nicht nur auf Erstaunen, sondern auf ebenso aggressive Kritik.

Die ostentativ lieblose Photomontage eines Hais in Anzug und Krawatte macht in Deutschland Furore. Das Plakat zeigt den greinenden Kopf des aus dem "Weißen Hai" entsprungenen Biestes auf einem Menschentorso in weißem Hemd mit fliederfarbenem Schlips. "Finanzhaie würden FDP wählen", mit diesem Slogan wollte die SPD eigentlich ihrer Kampagne für die Europawahl Schwung geben. Sie zog sich jedoch nur Kritik zu, nicht nur von ihren getroffenen, potentiellen Koalitionspartnern, sondern auch von einer erstaunten Presse. Denn das Plakat mit dem liberalen Biest ist Teil einer Wahlkampagne, die auf anderen Plakaten behauptet, dass "das Sozialdumping CDU" und "die Linke heiße Luft" wählen würde.

Prompt klagt Die Weltan: Die SPD verwende Nazi-Metaphorik. "Eigentlich hätte die Ungeziefermetaphorik nach Joseph Goebbels aus dem Wortschatz demokratischer Parteien und Institutionen verschwunden sein müssen. Seit die SPD-Wähler die Partei für die Schröder'sche Reformpolitik abstrafen, verlegt sich auch ein eher pragmatischer Politiker (...) weniger auf das Herausstreichen eigener Stärken denn auf das Schaffen von Feindbildern. (...) Doch die Krise der politischen Linken spiegelt sich auch in ihrer schwindenden Sensibilität im Umgang mit den eigenen rhetorischen und ästhetischen Standards. (...) Die Wähler der FDP werden als Raubtiere mit blitzenden Zähnen vorgestellt", spottet die Zeitung.

"Nun mag man wahrlich niemandem im Willy-Brandt-Haus ein faschistisches Menschenbild (...) vorwerfen, dennoch stellt sich die Frage, wie so etwas einer Partei unterlaufen kann, aus deren Reihen unzählige Genossen in KZs ermordet, von der Nazipropaganda in den Selbstmord getrieben oder außer Landes gejagt worden sind. Welche kulturellen Defizite und historischen Wissenslücken tun sich hier auf?"

Der Spiegel gibt schließlich den Jungen Liberalen das Wort, die per Internet reagieren. So "twitterte ein Mitglied der Thüringer Jungliberalen (...) ein weitgehend leeres Wahlplakat mit dem Slogan: 'Niemand wird SPD wählen.' Ein weiterer FDP-Abgeordneter hat auf Nachfrage einen eigenen Spruch parat: 'Nur mein Kurzzeitgedächtnis würde SPD wählen', (...) - eine passende Fotomontage dazu gebe es allerdings noch nicht."

Τετάρτη, 27 Μαΐου 2009

Γερμανική «ανατροπή» πού ξεχάστηκε αμέσως..!

είναι πολύ επικίνδυνο το άρθρο του «Σπίγκελ»
το σαββατοκύριακο στην γερμανία


Η Γερμανία είναι σοκαρισμένη από την πρόσφατη αποκάλυψη ότι ο αστυνομικός που πυροβόλησε και σκότωσε, το 1967, τον 26χρονο φοιτητή Μπένο Ονεζοργκ, δολοφονία από την οποία αναδύθηκε και ριζοσπαστικοποιήθηκε με πολύ δυναμικό, ενίοτε και πολύ βίαιο τρόπο ένα ολόκληρο αριστερό κίνημα, ήταν και πράκτορας της ανατολικογερμανικής μυστικής υπηρεσίας Στάζι και εγγεγραμμένο μέλος του κομμουνιστικού εκείνου ανατολικογερμανικού καθεστώτος.

Ο αστυνομικός Καρλ Χάινς Κούρας είναι 81 ετών σήμερα και ενδέχεται να βρεθεί πάλι στα έδρανα του δικαστηρίου, έπειτα από προσφυγή του Καρλ-Βόλφγκανγκ Χολτσάπφελ, επικεφαλής του Οργανισμού που ερευνά τα αρχεία της Στάζι.

{ενδιαφέρον όχι,
αναληθές ναι..!
το χάζευα κανα δυο μέρες στα γερμανικά μέντια,
αλλά το υπερπηδούσα διότι τα προεκλογικά καμώματα
της παππαδιάς(θεολόγού)μαριάννας μπρίτλερ είναι γνωστά από το 2005 ..;-)
αλλά φέτος ξεσάλωσε τελείως..:-))
πού να φανταστ'ω το ζώον ότι φέτος θα το έπαζε
Ιάν Φλέμμιγκ της Γερμανίας και θα έβγαζε κατασκοπικό μυθιστόρημα
με τον κόκκινο ντάννυ στο ρόλο του Τζαίημς Μπόντ..!?!}

Το καινούργιο στοιχείο είναι η πραγματική ταυτότητα του Κούρας, που μέχρι τώρα θεωρούνταν ότι ήταν Δυτικογερμανός αστυνομικός, που εκείνο το βράδυ της 2ας Ιουνίου 1967 που δολοφονήθηκε ο Ονεζοργκ, ήταν σε διατεταγμένη υπηρεσία με πολιτικά ρούχα. Ιστορικοί που μελετούν εδώ και χρόνια όλους τους φακέλους της Στάζι διατείνονται ότι ανακάλυψαν αδιάσειστα στοιχεία που αποδεικνύουν την άμεση σύνδεση του Κούρας με αυτήν. Ο ίδιος ο Κούρας σε χθεσινοβραδινή του συνέντευξη ομολόγησε ότι ήταν ταγματάρχης της Στάζι. Οπως προκύπτει από τα στοιχεία που επεξεργάστηκαν οι ιστορικοί ερευνητές, μετά τη δολοφονία η Στάζι έκοψε κάθε επικοινωνία με τον κατάσκοπό της στο Δυτικό Βερολίνο, στέλνοντάς του και ένα οριστικό μήνυμα που έγραφε: «Κατάστρεψε όλο το υλικό. Σταμάτησε κάθε εργασία επί του παρόντος. Το συμβάν αντιμετωπίζεται ως ένα πολύ ατυχές γεγονός».

{..για την γνησιότητα των εγγράφων...
1.οι γερμανοί "ειδικοί" σφάζονται μεταξύ τους,
όλη την βδομάδα,
ποιός θα πρωτοστολίσει την χαριτωμένα
κακιασμένη παππαδιά..:-))
2.μείναν το λιγότερο 10 χρόνια στα χέρια της CIA
3.και για την διασταύρωσή τους
σύγκριση/ερμηνεία εργάζονται πυρετωδώς
πράκτορες της BND και η Ευαγγελική Εκκλησία
(εκείνη που οργανώνει πόντιους τελευταία στη μαυρή θάλασσα..!?!)}


Διαδήλωση κατά του σάχη

Ο Ονεζοργκ δολοφονήθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια φοιτητικής διαδήλωσης, κοντά στην Ντόιτσε Οπερα του Βερολίνου, εναντίον της επίσκεψης του τότε σάχη της Περσίας, Ρεζά Παχλαβί. Ο σάχης, εκείνο το βράδυ της 2ας Ιουνίου του 1967, θα παρακολουθούσε την όπερα «Ο Μαγικός Αυλός» του Μότσαρτ.

Στο σημείο όπου έπεσε νεκρός υπάρχει σήμερα ένα μνημείο, φιλοτεχνημένο από τον γλύπτη Αλφρεντ Χρντλίκα, με το επίγραμμα «Ο θάνατος του διαδηλωτή».

Εκείνος ο θάνατος πυροδότησε μια σειρά από βίαιες διαδηλώσεις σε όλη τη χώρα, όχι μόνο από φοιτητές, αλλά από χιλιάδες απλούς πολίτες που βγήκαν στους δρόμους οργισμένοι και αποφασισμένοι να αντισταθούν σε αυτό που τότε ονόμαζαν «φασιστικό παρακράτος». Από αυτές τις διαδηλώσεις δημιουργήθηκε το «Κίνημα της 2ας Ιουνίου», όπως ονομάστηκε, που κέρδισε την υποστήριξη μεγάλου αριθμού Γερμανών πολιτικών που τότε ήταν στα πρώτα, άγουρα και ενθουσιώδη χρόνια της σταδιοδρομίας τους.

Η εμφάνιση του ένοπλου αγώνα

Τότε, επίσης, ξεκίνησε και ένοπλος αγώνας από ορισμένες ομάδες, με χαρακτηριστικότερη εκείνη της RAF, συντομογραφία του «Φράξιας του Κόκκινου Στρατού», υπό την ηγεσία του Αντρέας Μπάαντερ και της Ούλρικε Μάινχοφ.

Ο Γιόχεν Στάαντ, επικεφαλής του Τμήματος Ερευνών σε ό,τι έχει σχέση με το πρώην Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα της τότε Ανατολικής Γερμανίας, δήλωσε στην Ντόιτσε Βέλε πως η πιθανότητα να είχε σχεδιαστεί τελικά η δολοφονία του Ονεζοργκ από τη Στάζι σημαίνει ότι «η Ιστορία θα πρέπει να ξαναγραφεί».

{αυτό βέβαια μας εξηγεί γιατί εμφανίστηκε η αποκάλυψη τώρα..:

κατά τα πρότυπα του ευρωβουλίου και της πολωνίας

ζητούν οι επίγονοι της Βα'ι'μάρης να εξεταστούν με βάση τα

νέα (made USA& BND)στοιχεία της Στάζι όλα τα δημόσια και πολιτικά πρόσωπα

από το 1949 μέχρι σήμερα..!?!

όταν όμως τους ρωτήσεις για τα οικογενειακά τους

μεταξύ του 1930/1950 κρύβονται πίσω από τις αποφάσεις της Νυρεμβέργης..:-P

και σε λίγο καιρό θα μας λένε

ότι με τον 2ο παγκόσμιο πόλεμο

έσωσαν την ευρώπη από τον κουμουνιστικό κίνδυνο...}


Είναι πολύ επικίνδυνο το άρθρο του «Σπίγκελ»


Το «χέρι» του Ισραήλ βλέπει πίσω από πρόσφατο άρθρο του «Σπίγκελ», που επιρρίπτει στη Χεσμπολάχ την ευθύνη για τη δολοφονία του πρωθυπουργού του Λιβάνου, Ραφίκ Χαρίρι το 2005, ο ηγέτης της οργάνωσης Χασάν Νασράλα.

Είναι «πολύ, πολύ, πολύ επικίνδυνο το άρθρο» είπε ο Νασράλα σε ανοιχτή συγκέντρωση οπαδών του στη Βηρυτό, με αφορμή την 9η επέτειο από την ισραηλινή αποχώρηση από το νότιο Λίβανο. Ο Νασράλα «έδειξε» το Ισραήλ ως ηθικό αυτουργό θυμίζοντας ότι αυτό «είχε προειδοποιήσει πως αν δεν ενεργήσει η διεθνής κοινότητα εναντίον της Χεσμπολάχ, θα τιμωρήσει το ίδιο την οργάνωση και τον ηγέτη της».

Το Ισραήλ συνέχισε την παρελκυστική πολιτική στο Παλαιστινιακό. Αξιωματούχοι της χώρας είπαν -υπό την προϋπόθεση της ανωνυμίας- ότι η κυβέρνηση Νετανιάχου θα ήταν πρόθυμη να κατεδαφίσει 26 παράνομους οικισμούς στις παρυφές των μεγαλύτερων της Δυτικής Οχθης, αν οι ΗΠΑ άρουν την αντίθεσή τους στη συνέχιση της ανοικοδόμησης στους υφιστάμενους. Την πρόταση θα διατυπώσει στον Ομπάμα ο υπουργός άμυνας Εχούντ Μπάρακ την ερχόμενη εβδομάδα στην Ουάσιγκτον. Η άλλη «αντι-πρόταση» του αντιπροέδρου της ισραηλινής κυβέρνησης Μοσέ Γιααλόν και γερακιών του Λικούντ στη δημιουργία παλαιστινιακού κράτους είναι να προσαρτήσει το Ισραήλ τμήματα της Δυτικής Οχθης και να παραχωρήσει την πολιτική ευθύνη για τον παλαιστινιακό πληθυσμό στην Ιορδανία. Παλαιστίνιοι και Ιορδανία απορρίπτουν κάτι τέτοιο, το ιορδανικό υπουργείο Εξωτερικών μάλιστα κάλεσε τον Ισραηλινό πρεσβευτή και του επέδωσε διάβημα. Οι Παλαιστίνιοι θέλουν δικό τους κράτος -κάτι που έχει υιοθετήσει σύσσωμη η διεθνής κοινότητα- και απορρίπτουν κάθε συζήτηση για συνέχιση της εποικιστικής δραστηριότητας του Ισραήλ. Ο επικεφαλής της παλαιστινιακής διαπραγματευτικής ομάδας Αχμέντ Κρέα δήλωσε χθες σε συνέντευξη ότι θα μπορούσε σε μια μελλοντική ρύθμιση παλαιστινιακό κράτος, που θα περιλαμβάνει τη Δυτική Οχθη, να προσφέρει την υπηκοότητα στους Εβραίους εποίκους τριών μεγάλων οικισμών της Δυτικής Οχθης.



Το γερμανικό περιοδικό «Spiegel» δημοσίευσε στο τελευταίο του τεύχος ρεπορτάζ του δημοσιογράφου Erich Follath, στο οποίο ισχυρίστηκε ότι πίσω από τη δολοφονία του Ραφίκ Χαρίρι βρίσκεται η Χεσμπολάχ.

Ο δημοσιογράφος επικαλέστηκε πηγή προσκείμενη στο Διεθνές Δικαστήριο, που έχει συσταθεί για να ερευνήσει τη δολοφονία του Λιβανέζου ηγέτη. Λίγη ώρα μετά τη δημοσίευση ο Ισραηλινός υπερεθνικιστής υπουργός Εξωτερικών, υιοθετώντας πλήρως το δημοσίευμα, ζήτησε «διεθνές ένταλμα σύλληψης εναντίον του Νασράλα». Ο εκπρόσωπος Τύπου του Διεθνούς Δικαστηρίου, μετά την πρόκληση από τον δημοσιογράφο, τον διέψευσε εντός 24 ωρών. Ο εκπρόσωπος μάλιστα αναρωτήθηκε από πού έβγαλε ο δημοσιογράφος αυτή την «ιστορία».

Λαβρόφ: Προκλητικό

Η γερμανική κυβέρνηση, αισθανόμενη το μέγεθος της ζημιάς που θα προκαλούσε στην εικόνα της χώρας και του Δικαστηρίου, έσπευσε μέσω της πρεσβείας της στη Βηρυτό να διαψεύσει με έκτακτη ανακοίνωση την οποιαδήποτε σχέση με την «ιστορία». Ο Λιβανέζος υπουργός Εξωτερικών Fawzi Salloukh, ο οποίος χαρακτήρισε «αβάσιμες και φτιαχτές τις αποδείξεις» που ανέφερε ο δημοσιογράφος πως έχει στα χέρια του, είπε ότι «το δημοσίευμα στοχεύει στην αποσταθεροποίηση της χώρας μου». Ο Ρώσος υπουργός Εξωτερικών Λαβρόφ χαρακτήρισε το δημοσίευμα «προκλητικό» και πως στοχεύει «στην πολιτικοποίηση του έργου του Διεθνούς Δικαστηρίου».

Ο αραβικός Τύπος στο σύνολό του -με εξαίρεση την εφημερίδα και το κανάλι του Σαουδάραβα πρίγκιπα και φίλου του Αμερικανού πρώην αντιπροέδρου Ντικ Τσένι, που υιοθέτησαν το δημοσίευμα- πιστεύει πως το Ισραήλ προσπαθεί με την «ιστορία» αυτή να βγει από την αδιέξοδη πολιτική των υπερεθνικιστών Νετανιάχου-Λίμπερμαν, η οποία απορρίπτει τη διεθνή αποδεκτή «λύση δύο κρατών». Η «ιστορία» αυτή άρχισε ήδη να γυρίζει μπούμερανγκ στους εμπνευστές της. Οι πρώτοι που βγήκαν να καταγγείλουν το δημοσίευμα είναι αυτοί που ήλπιζε ο δημοσιογράφος πως θα το υιοθετούσαν, δηλαδή οι φιλοδυτικοί πολιτικοί. Οι περισσότεροι αναλυτές έγραψαν ότι «οι Λιβανέζοι πολιτικοί υπολόγισαν λογικά ότι μια τέτοια "ιστορία" θα έχει επιπτώσεις στην εικόνα των ιδίων και στο κύρος και στην αξιοπιστία του Διεθνούς Δικαστηρίου, που τόσους αγώνες έκαναν για να συσταθεί».

«Πυρά» Δρούζων

Ο ηγέτης των Δρούζων, Ουαλίντ Τζουμπλάτ, πρωταγωνιστής υπέρ της σύστασης του Δικαστηρίου και πολέμιος της Συρίας και της Χεσμπολάχ, κατηγόρησε ευθέως το Ισραήλ ότι «βρίσκεται πίσω από το δημοσίευμα και την ιστορία», γιατί «ήθελε να διχάσει τους Λιβανέζους», είπε σε μια προεκλογική συγκέντρωση στη πρωτεύουσα Βηρυτό, παρουσία του Σάαντ Χαρίρι και όλων των κομμάτων της φιλοδυτικής συμμαχίας. Ο Δρούζος ηγέτης δεν σταμάτησε εκεί, αλλά παρομοίασε το δημοσίευμα του γερμανικού περιοδικού με τη σφαγή εκείνη που κατεγράφη στη σύγχρονη ιστορία του Λιβάνου ως «το γεγονός» που άναψε το φιτίλι του εμφυλίου πολέμου. Το γεγονός έγινε γνωστό και ως «Λεωφορείο Εϊν Ρουμάνα». Το ματωμένο λεωφορείο μετέφερε στις 13/4/1975 Παλαιστινίους πρόσφυγες και κατευθυνόταν προς το καταυλισμό Ταλ Αλ-Ζάταρ. Λίγο πριν φτάσει, στη περιοχή «Εϊν Ρουμάνα» είχαν στήσει ενέδρα χριστιανοί φαλαγγίτες. Μόλις έφτασε κοντά τους, άνοιξαν πυρ και σκότωσαν 26 από τους επιβάτες του. Οι δύο σώθηκαν επειδή κρύφτηκαν κάτω από τα πτώματα. Ο Δρούζος ηγέτης συμφώνησε ίσως για πρώτη φορά με τον ηγέτη της Χεζμπολάχ, Χασάν Νασράλα, ότι το Ισραήλ «θέλει να αποπροσανατολίσει την κοινή γνώμη από την προσπάθεια διάλυσης του δικτύου της ισραηλινής Μοσάντ στον Λίβανο».

«Λαβωμένη» Μοσάντ

Η Μοσάντ εδώ και δύο μήνες δέχεται απανωτά πλήγματα στο δίκτυο κατασκόπων που έχτιζε εδώ και 25 χρόνια στον Λίβανο. Εχει καταφέρει ύστερα από «πολύ κόπο και υπομονή και λεπτομερή σχεδιασμό» να στρατολογήσει Λιβανέζους και Παλαιστίνιους και να τους οργανώσει μέσα σ' ένα δίκτυο που επεκτεινόταν σε όλη την επικράτεια της χώρας και να αποτελείται από πολλά επαγγέλματα. Αρκετοί μάλιστα από τους κατασκόπους είχαν φτάσει σε υψηλά και κομβικά πόστα στον κρατικό μηχανισμό της χώρας και στο κομματικό σύστημα της χώρας. Ενας επιτελάρχης κοινωνιολόγος του κόμματος του Χαράρι, ένας πρώην διευθυντής του τμήματος διαβατηρίων στη γενική διεύθυνση και διεύθυνση αλλοδαπών, ένας έμπορος αυτοκινήτων, προμηθευτής 4x4 της Χεσμπολάχ. Η διάλυση του δικτύου, και μάλιστα στην πιο επικίνδυνη χώρα που συνορεύει με το Ισραήλ, δεν είναι καθόλου μια εύκολη υπόθεση. Χρειάστηκε η συνεργασία των λιβανικών μυστικών υπηρεσίων και της ειδικής μονάδας αντικατασκοπίας της Χεσμπολάχ. Αυτό φαίνεται ενόχλησε τη Μοσάντ. Αυτή τη συνεργασία ήθελε η Μοσάντ να διαλύσει κατασκευάζοντας μια ερασιτεχνική ιστορία. *

Eταιρικά και άλλα

Courrier International Type Weekly newspaper
Format Berliner
Owner Groupe Le Monde
Editor Philippe Thureau-Dangin
Founded 1990
Political allegiance Centre-left/Centre
Language French
Portuguese
Japanese
Headquarters Paris
ISSN 1154-516X
Website www.courrierinternational.com

Courrier International is a Paris-based French weekly newspaper which translates and publishes excerpts of articles from over 900 international newspapers.

The newspaper has a Portuguese and a Japanese edition. Courrier Japon was launched on November 17, 2005 and is published by Kodansha Limited.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courrier_International
* December 16: it was announced that Canal Plus would merge with TPS, France's second largest Pay-TV provider. If the €5 billion (US$5.9bn; £3.4bn) tie-up is approved, VU will own 85% of the combined entity.

[edit] 2006

* January 17: Vivendi SA announced that it will end its American Depositary Receipt program and its listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of quarter 2 2006, due to lowered trading volume on its shares and high costs. [4]

* April 20: Vivendi announced that shareholders approved a name change. It dropped the "Universal" from its name and will now be known simply as "Vivendi". A new corporate logo was simultaneously unveiled.

* August: Vivendi signed a deal with Spiralfrog to distribute Vivendi's songs online in the United States and Canada.

* September 8: Vivendi announced that Sierra Entertainment, a division of its Vivendi Games group would be publishing the new game for Double Fine Productions, later revealed to be Brütal Legend.

* September: Vivendi has announced to buy BMG Music Publishing, the daughter company of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann for €1.63 billion (US$2.1bn).

[edit] 2007

* December 2: Vivendi announced that their subdivision Vivendi Games would be merging Activision to form Activision Blizzard. Vivendi will be the major shareholder in this merger holding a 52% to 48% (pending results of the tender offer) stake of the newly formed company.[4][5]

[edit] 2008

* July 9: Activision Blizzard merger closes for $18.9 billion. Vivendi is majority stockholder, with 52% stake.[6]
On Thursday, June 14, 2007, NBCU announced that NBC Universal Television Studio would be renamed, effective immediately, to Universal Media Studios. The parent company, NBC Universal, explained that the reason for the name change of NBC Universal Television Studio was because "the new name fully describes the company's mission to be the premier content provider for television and digital platforms, spanning all television dayparts and creative genres." [9]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivendi
On October 9, 2007 NBC Universal bought the Oxygen network .

In late 2007, NBC Universal bought Sparrowhawk Media Group and renamed it NBC Universal Global Networks. This acquisition gave NBC Universal all Hallmark channels outside the United States, plus the British channels: Diva TV, Movies 24, Hallmark Channel and the upcoming channel, KidsCo.[10]

On July 6, 2008 NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital announced their intentions to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications. The deal was closed on September 12, 2008.[11] In August 2008 it marked its first venture into the United Kingdom by acquiring Carnival Films.[12]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBC_Universal

Τρίτη, 26 Μαΐου 2009

a Fourth Reich

Discovering the EP with Europarltv videos

While European Parliament elections soon are coming I was curious to see how EU propaganda machinery with their countless millions of taxpayers’ money is putting their best to attract public to cast their vote. So I opened Europarltv which launched a series of videos explaining the history the Parliament, how it works and why to vote. Here is feedback of my wasted time:

First impression was that I am watching some practice videos made by some primary school hobby group under supervision (without supervision the pupils probably would be much more creative). Maybe producers have selected a line explain EU/EP for dummies but I wonder is the target group really the same than with shopping tv, where brain-dead people who have nothing more important in life than buy multiple priced bullshit from divan.

To avoid boredom I tried to concentrate to content. Interested in history I watched few videos including response to holocaust denial, some allegorical Hemingway quotation as starting step towards European Constitution in 1984 etc. I bet that EU history has much more interesting aspects than selected. Indeed a couple of weeks ago Adam LeBor published a conspiracy thriller “The Budapest Protocol” based real event in Strasbourg on August 10, 1944. There Nazi officers ordered a group of German industrials to plan for Germany’s post-war recovery – the Fourth Reich – an economic empire known later as European Union. (more about US intelligence document related to Nazi’s secret post-war plans in Mail on Sunday )

Abandoning history and fictions an interesting video headline was “Who decides in Europe?”. The main claim was that no law which are in EU’s limits – will pass without EP. Correct! What was said only indirect was, that EP’s role is totally bystander. The formulations are made in Commission and decisions in Council of Ministers, EP can only slow this common development work not take the initiative. I think that producers tried to hide the insignificance of EP behind positive image of EU.

The official tv-spot highlights the same EU’s decision making dilemma. After imaginary news headlines the ad claims “You decide what tomorrows news will be”. Again correct! Your vote can have some influence in national elections and your government can be formulating the future EU policy with other national governments and EC; but where is the connections to EP elections – nowhere.

In conclusion I would say that EU could have used – or best not to use at all – its propaganda investment better; probably no big international company would waste money to marketing with so low standards. After EP videos it does not surprise me if the turnout is even lower than before.

One view about EU propaganda can be found from my post “ 20 bn propaganda

Revealed: The secret report that shows how the Nazis planned a Fourth Reich ...in the EU

By Adam Lebor
Last updated at 10:30 PM on 09th May 2009

The paper is aged and fragile, the typewritten letters slowly fading. But US Military Intelligence report EW-Pa 128 is as chilling now as the day it was written in November 1944.

The document, also known as the Red House Report, is a detailed account of a secret meeting at the Maison Rouge Hotel in Strasbourg on August 10, 1944. There, Nazi officials ordered an elite group of German industrialists to plan for Germany's post-war recovery, prepare for the Nazis' return to power and work for a 'strong German empire'. In other words: the Fourth Reich.

Heinrich Himmler with Max Faust, engineer with I. G. Farben

Plotters: SS chief Heinrich Himmler with Max Faust, engineer with Nazi-backed company I. G. Farben

The three-page, closely typed report, marked 'Secret', copied to British officials and sent by air pouch to Cordell Hull, the US Secretary of State, detailed how the industrialists were to work with the Nazi Party to rebuild Germany's economy by sending money through Switzerland.

They would set up a network of secret front companies abroad. They would wait until conditions were right. And then they would take over Germany again.

The industrialists included representatives of Volkswagen, Krupp and Messerschmitt. Officials from the Navy and Ministry of Armaments were also at the meeting and, with incredible foresight, they decided together that the Fourth German Reich, unlike its predecessor, would be an economic rather than a military empire - but not just German.

The Red House Report, which was unearthed from US intelligence files, was the inspiration for my thriller The Budapest Protocol.

The book opens in 1944 as the Red Army advances on the besieged city, then jumps to the present day, during the election campaign for the first president of Europe. The European Union superstate is revealed as a front for a sinister conspiracy, one rooted in the last days of the Second World War.

But as I researched and wrote the novel, I realised that some of the Red House Report had become fact.

Nazi Germany did export massive amounts of capital through neutral countries. German businesses did set up a network of front companies abroad. The German economy did soon recover after 1945.

The Third Reich was defeated militarily, but powerful Nazi-era bankers, industrialists and civil servants, reborn as democrats, soon prospered in the new West Germany. There they worked for a new cause: European economic and political integration.

Is it possible that the Fourth Reich those Nazi industrialists foresaw has, in some part at least, come to pass?

The Red House Report was written by a French spy who was at the meeting in Strasbourg in 1944 - and it paints an extraordinary picture.

The industrialists gathered at the Maison Rouge Hotel waited expectantly as SS Obergruppenfuhrer Dr Scheid began the meeting. Scheid held one of the highest ranks in the SS, equivalent to Lieutenant General. He cut an imposing figure in his tailored grey-green uniform and high, peaked cap with silver braiding. Guards were posted outside and the room had been searched for microphones.

Auschwitz

Death camp: Auschwitz, where tens of thousands of slave labourers died working in a factory run by German firm I. G. Farben

There was a sharp intake of breath as he began to speak. German industry must realise that the war cannot be won, he declared. 'It must take steps in preparation for a post-war commercial campaign.' Such defeatist talk was treasonous - enough to earn a visit to the Gestapo's cellars, followed by a one-way trip to a concentration camp.

But Scheid had been given special licence to speak the truth – the future of the Reich was at stake. He ordered the industrialists to 'make contacts and alliances with foreign firms, but this must be done individually and without attracting any suspicion'.

The industrialists were to borrow substantial sums from foreign countries after the war.

They were especially to exploit the finances of those German firms that had already been used as fronts for economic penetration abroad, said Scheid, citing the American partners of the steel giant Krupp as well as Zeiss, Leica and the Hamburg-America Line shipping company.

But as most of the industrialists left the meeting, a handful were beckoned into another smaller gathering, presided over by Dr Bosse of the Armaments Ministry. There were secrets to be shared with the elite of the elite.

Bosse explained how, even though the Nazi Party had informed the industrialists that the war was lost, resistance against the Allies would continue until a guarantee of German unity could be obtained. He then laid out the secret three-stage strategy for the Fourth Reich.

In stage one, the industrialists were to 'prepare themselves to finance the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go underground as a Maquis', using the term for the French resistance.

Stage two would see the government allocating large sums to German industrialists to establish a 'secure post-war foundation in foreign countries', while 'existing financial reserves must be placed at the disposal of the party so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat'.

In stage three, German businesses would set up a 'sleeper' network of agents abroad through front companies, which were to be covers for military research and intelligence, until the Nazis returned to power.

'The existence of these is to be known only by very few people in each industry and by chiefs of the Nazi Party,' Bosse announced.

'Each office will have a liaison agent with the party. As soon as the party becomes strong enough to re-establish its control over Germany, the industrialists will be paid for their effort and co-operation by concessions and orders.'

Enlarge The 1944 Red House Report

Extraordinary revelations: The 1944 Red House Report, detailing 'plans of German industrialists to engage in underground activity'

The exported funds were to be channelled through two banks in Zurich, or via agencies in Switzerland which bought property in Switzerland for German concerns, for a five per cent commission.

The Nazis had been covertly sending funds through neutral countries for years.

Swiss banks, in particular the Swiss National Bank, accepted gold looted from the treasuries of Nazi-occupied countries. They accepted assets and property titles taken from Jewish businessmen in Germany and occupied countries, and supplied the foreign currency that the Nazis needed to buy vital war materials.

Swiss economic collaboration with the Nazis had been closely monitored by Allied intelligence.

The Red House Report's author notes: 'Previously, exports of capital by German industrialists to neutral countries had to be accomplished rather surreptitiously and by means of special influence.

'Now the Nazi Party stands behind the industrialists and urges them to save themselves by getting funds outside Germany and at the same time advance the party's plans for its post-war operations.'

The order to export foreign capital was technically illegal in Nazi Germany, but by the summer of 1944 the law did not matter.

More than two months after D-Day, the Nazis were being squeezed by the Allies from the west and the Soviets from the east. Hitler had been badly wounded in an assassination attempt. The Nazi leadership was nervous, fractious and quarrelling.

During the war years the SS had built up a gigantic economic empire, based on plunder and murder, and they planned to keep it.

A meeting such as that at the Maison Rouge would need the protection of the SS, according to Dr Adam Tooze of Cambridge University, author of Wages of Destruction: The Making And Breaking Of The Nazi Economy.

He says: 'By 1944 any discussion of post-war planning was banned. It was extremely dangerous to do that in public. But the SS was thinking in the long-term. If you are trying to establish a workable coalition after the war, the only safe place to do it is under the auspices of the apparatus of terror.'

Shrewd SS leaders such as Otto Ohlendorf were already thinking ahead.

As commander of Einsatzgruppe D, which operated on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1942, Ohlendorf was responsible for the murder of 90,000 men, women and children.

A highly educated, intelligent lawyer and economist, Ohlendorf showed great concern for the psychological welfare of his extermination squad's gunmen: he ordered that several of them should fire simultaneously at their victims, so as to avoid any feelings of personal responsibility.

By the winter of 1943 he was transferred to the Ministry of Economics. Ohlendorf's ostensible job was focusing on export trade, but his real priority was preserving the SS's massive pan-European economic empire after Germany's defeat.

Ohlendorf, who was later hanged at Nuremberg, took particular interest in the work of a German economist called Ludwig Erhard. Erhard had written a lengthy manuscript on the transition to a post-war economy after Germany's defeat. This was dangerous, especially as his name had been mentioned in connection with resistance groups.

But Ohlendorf, who was also chief of the SD, the Nazi domestic security service, protected Erhard as he agreed with his views on stabilising the post-war German economy. Ohlendorf himself was protected by Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the SS.

Ohlendorf and Erhard feared a bout of hyper-inflation, such as the one that had destroyed the German economy in the Twenties. Such a catastrophe would render the SS's economic empire almost worthless.

The two men agreed that the post-war priority was rapid monetary stabilisation through a stable currency unit, but they realised this would have to be enforced by a friendly occupying power, as no post-war German state would have enough legitimacy to introduce a currency that would have any value.

That unit would become the Deutschmark, which was introduced in 1948. It was an astonishing success and it kick-started the German economy. With a stable currency, Germany was once again an attractive trading partner.

The German industrial conglomerates could rapidly rebuild their economic empires across Europe.

War had been extraordinarily profitable for the German economy. By 1948 - despite six years of conflict, Allied bombing and post-war reparations payments - the capital stock of assets such as equipment and buildings was larger than in 1936, thanks mainly to the armaments boom.

Erhard pondered how German industry could expand its reach across the shattered European continent. The answer was through supranationalism - the voluntary surrender of national sovereignty to an international body.

Germany and France were the drivers behind the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Union. The ECSC was the first supranational organisation, established in April 1951 by six European states. It created a common market for coal and steel which it regulated. This set a vital precedent for the steady erosion of national sovereignty, a process that continues today.

But before the common market could be set up, the Nazi industrialists had to be pardoned, and Nazi bankers and officials reintegrated. In 1957, John J. McCloy, the American High Commissioner for Germany, issued an amnesty for industrialists convicted of war crimes.

The two most powerful Nazi industrialists, Alfried Krupp of Krupp Industries and Friedrich Flick, whose Flick Group eventually owned a 40 per cent stake in Daimler-Benz, were released from prison after serving barely three years.

Krupp and Flick had been central figures in the Nazi economy. Their companies used slave labourers like cattle, to be worked to death.

The Krupp company soon became one of Europe's leading industrial combines.

The Flick Group also quickly built up a new pan-European business empire. Friedrich Flick remained unrepentant about his wartime record and refused to pay a single Deutschmark in compensation until his death in July 1972 at the age of 90, when he left a fortune of more than $1billion, the equivalent of £400million at the time.

'For many leading industrial figures close to the Nazi regime, Europe became a cover for pursuing German national interests after the defeat of Hitler,' says historian Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, an adviser to Jewish former slave labourers.

'The continuity of the economy of Germany and the economies of post-war Europe is striking. Some of the leading figures in the Nazi economy became leading builders of the European Union.'

Numerous household names had exploited slave and forced labourers including BMW, Siemens and Volkswagen, which produced munitions and the V1 rocket.

Slave labour was an integral part of the Nazi war machine. Many concentration camps were attached to dedicated factories where company officials worked hand-in-hand with the SS officers overseeing the camps.

Like Krupp and Flick, Hermann Abs, post-war Germany's most powerful banker, had prospered in the Third Reich. Dapper, elegant and diplomatic, Abs joined the board of Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank, in 1937. As the Nazi empire expanded, Deutsche Bank enthusiastically 'Aryanised' Austrian and Czechoslovak banks that were owned by Jews.

By 1942, Abs held 40 directorships, a quarter of which were in countries occupied by the Nazis. Many of these Aryanised companies used slave labour and by 1943 Deutsche Bank's wealth had quadrupled.

Abs also sat on the supervisory board of I.G. Farben, as Deutsche Bank's representative. I.G. Farben was one of Nazi Germany's most powerful companies, formed out of a union of BASF, Bayer, Hoechst and subsidiaries in the Twenties.

It was so deeply entwined with the SS and the Nazis that it ran its own slave labour camp at Auschwitz, known as Auschwitz III, where tens of thousands of Jews and other prisoners died producing artificial rubber.

When they could work no longer, or were verbraucht (used up) in the Nazis' chilling term, they were moved to Birkenau. There they were gassed using Zyklon B, the patent for which was owned by I.G. Farben.

But like all good businessmen, I.G. Farben's bosses hedged their bets.

During the war the company had financed Ludwig Erhard's research. After the war, 24 I.G. Farben executives were indicted for war crimes over Auschwitz III - but only twelve of the 24 were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one-and-a-half to eight years. I.G. Farben got away with mass murder.

Abs was one of the most important figures in Germany's post-war reconstruction. It was largely thanks to him that, just as the Red House Report exhorted, a 'strong German empire' was indeed rebuilt, one which formed the basis of today's European Union.

Abs was put in charge of allocating Marshall Aid - reconstruction funds - to German industry. By 1948 he was effectively managing Germany's economic recovery.

Crucially, Abs was also a member of the European League for Economic Co-operation, an elite intellectual pressure group set up in 1946. The league was dedicated to the establishment of a common market, the precursor of the European Union.

Its members included industrialists and financiers and it developed policies that are strikingly familiar today - on monetary integration and common transport, energy and welfare systems.

When Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany, took power in 1949, Abs was his most important financial adviser.

Behind the scenes Abs was working hard for Deutsche Bank to be allowed to reconstitute itself after decentralisation. In 1957 he succeeded and he returned to his former employer.

That same year the six members of the ECSC signed the Treaty of Rome, which set up the European Economic Community. The treaty further liberalised trade and established increasingly powerful supranational institutions including the European Parliament and European Commission.

Like Abs, Ludwig Erhard flourished in post-war Germany. Adenauer made Erhard Germany's first post-war economics minister. In 1963 Erhard succeeded Adenauer as Chancellor for three years.

But the German economic miracle – so vital to the idea of a new Europe - was built on mass murder. The number of slave and forced labourers who died while employed by German companies in the Nazi era was 2,700,000.

Some sporadic compensation payments were made but German industry agreed a conclusive, global settlement only in 2000, with a £3billion compensation fund. There was no admission of legal liability and the individual compensation was paltry.

A slave labourer would receive 15,000 Deutschmarks (about £5,000), a forced labourer 5,000 (about £1,600). Any claimant accepting the deal had to undertake not to launch any further legal action.

To put this sum of money into perspective, in 2001 Volkswagen alone made profits of £1.8billion.

Next month, 27 European Union member states vote in the biggest transnational election in history. Europe now enjoys peace and stability. Germany is a democracy, once again home to a substantial Jewish community. The Holocaust is seared into national memory.

But the Red House Report is a bridge from a sunny present to a dark past. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief, once said: 'In 50 years' time nobody will think of nation states.'

For now, the nation state endures. But these three typewritten pages are a reminder that today's drive towards a European federal state is inexorably tangled up with the plans of the SS and German industrialists for a Fourth Reich - an economic rather than military imperium.

• The Budapest Protocol, Adam LeBor's thriller inspired by the Red House Report, is published by Reportage Press.