Ray McGovern on Germany: Bad News Far Outweighs the Good

The good news from Germany is very limited and parochial; the bad news downright alarming. Alarm rises from increasing evidence that – how to say this – Germany has “kicked its World War II syndrome once and for all”, to borrow from the exultant words of Gulf War-1-victorious President George H. W. Bush 40 years ago.

After destroying a second-rate Iraqi army Bush bragged, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.” He was referring to the perception in some quarters that, after the disaster of Vietnam, the U.S. was being too shy about using military force.

Have we come to the point where the Germans have shaken off their earlier “shyness” after the disaster of WWII?  This gives me goose pimples. Yes, I’m old enough to have lived through the entire war, but – unlike Russia – my country had two great oceans to help defend it. I can only imagine the size of today’s goose pimples on Russians – not only those who lived through the war, but also those who have been given personal accounts of it from fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers.

The small piece of recent good news involves a thoughtful article by a serious German journalist. The day after VIPS published its (May 1) Memorandum for The President, warning him not to ignore Russian warnings about the possible use of nuclear weapons, Germany’s most respected progressive website, NachDenkSeiten, published a full translation, giving it front-page prominence.

Of more importance, NDS’s editor-in chief, Albrecht Mueller, saw fit to attach (1) a preface; (2) a detailed comparison of what VIPs wrote with what German media are saying; and (3) his conclusions (Fazit), based largely on Germany’s increasingly hawkish Ukraine-related actions – some of them unprecedented since WWII – which are stoked and widely applauded by the mainstream media there. I found Mueller’s presentation, especially his description of front-page coverage in his newspaper, “Die Rheinpfalz am Sonntag”, somewhat shocking.

Albrecht Mueller was chief of planning for Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt and also a member of the Bundestag from 1987 to 1994 (and the author of bestsellers). Not surprisingly, he is distraught at what has happened to the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and to the media – and the dangers posed to peace in Europe. This is the bad news, just as the 77th anniversary of VE Day is about to be celebrated in Moscow and elsewhere.

Has it taken Germany only two generations to forget the horrors of the war inflicted by the Nazis under Hitler? The Russians, having lost 26 million during that war, have not forgotten This is a combustible mixture.

Dissecting One Front Page

I found Albrecht Mueller’s observations about the captive, one-sided press so much on point that I translated them into English, including the detailed critique he gives to his regional newspaper on May 1. It follows, together with his preface and conclusions, below:


NachDenkSeiten – Die kritsche Website
Putins Nuklearwarnung ist KEINE Leere Drohung
(Putin’s Nuclear Warning is NO Empty Threat)
2 Mai 2022

[With preface and conclusion by editor-in-Chief Albrecht Mueller in English translation]

Preface

Veteran US intelligence officers, in a Memo to President Biden, warn him not to dismiss as an empty threat Russian President Putin’s references to nuclear weapons. The recent Memo from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPs) was translated by Thilo Haase. Ray McGovern notes that this is probably the most important VIPs Memo since the one sent to President Bush on Feb. 5, 2003 exposing Colin Powell’s lies earlier that day at the UN.

Bearing in mind the warning published by VIPs on May 1 about the abominable risks of the ongoing war [in Ukraine], I call your attention to the front page my regional newspaper [Die RheinPfalz am Sonntag] on May 1. That page is peppered with attempts to play down the dangers of war and to offer encouraging reassurances for providing weapons for the war. That is typical for many products of our major media. And so I make concrete reference to that and compare it with the warning from the veteran intelligence officers.

[At this point NachDenkSeiten publishes a German translation of the full text of the VIPs Memo and adds a Conclusion critique by editor Mueller.]

From “Nie Wieder Krieg” to “War? No Problem!”

After the end of the horrible Second World War there was at least a large consensus: War Never Again! (Nie Wieder Krieg!) This avowal came also from people who were connected with the Nazis and/or with the German military.  The shock of the many killed, the destroyed cities, and the millions of refugees at least had the result that the lust for war and for the military shrunk to almost zero.  Nie Wieder Krieg was the common watchword. By the way, even in 1980 there was clearly a majority for this attitude. And so the SPD on May 11 won the Landtag election in Nordrhein Westphalia with an absolute majority precisely with this avowal: Nie Wieder Krieg.

Today that is pretty much forgotten. We have become accustomed to this reality that the Bundeswehr has been transformed from an army for defense into an instrument of military intervention abroad, fumbling around outside the NATO area. Now we talk about and admit to delivering weapons, training Ukrainian soldiers by the USA on German soil, ammunition for tanks, etc.

A Prime Example of this war-friendly public opinion formation is the front page of my regional newspaper yesterday [Die RheinPfalz am Sonntag, May 1]

The only items that had nothing to do with the war and our participation in it were the small football report on the upper left, the equally tiny weather report on the lower left, and a small ad for eyeglasses on the lower right of the page.

In all the other articles (from #1 to #6 [as numbered in the photo above]) Germany’s participation in the war is treated sympathetically. A large notice on the right side (#7) points to an inside article with eight suggestions as to how to protect from high inflation. No mention is made of the possibility that this inflation could have something to do with the increase in weapons expenditures and the universally endorsed sanctions.

One Article After Another

The lead story (#1) reports that the USA is giving Ukrainian soldiers weapons-training in Germany – presumably in Grafenwoehr and Ramstein. Absent is any critical commentary regarding this abuse of German soil by the US military, even though this marks an additional step in the participation of our country in this war.

In the second largest article (#2) it is reported that Germany is providing not only 50 Gepard tanks, but also the ammunition for those tanks. Die Rheinpfalz am Sonntag report is based on statements by the Parliamentary State Secretary for Defense, Thomas Hitschler (SPD).

He announces that what’s happening is the provision “not only of weapons systems and the tank itself, but also the logistical and additional aspects like the issue of the training”. (By the way: Thomas Hitschler, now SPD Bundestag member (Suedpfalz) now occupies the seat I once had. Times are changing.)

Referring to the Hitschler’s statements, Article #3 states that, by providing 50 German anti-aircraft tanks, Germany is equipping Ukraine with an important military capability; it goes on to say: “Amid all the criticism, including justified criticism, of providing German tanks to Kyiv, Berlin now shows that, in the end, it is a reliable NATO ally.” Here we see a familiar two-step manipulation. The commentator refers to the criticism of Germany and of Scholz for their earlier hesitancy to provide weapons and then turns that into an implied message that providing weapons is sensible and good [because, of course, being “a reliable NATO ally” is, ipso facto, sensible and good].

Article #4 reports that the German Finance Minister and Chairman of the FDP has called for a halt to state support for former Chancellor Schroeder. “Former holders of the highest offices, who apparently stand on the side of criminal governments, should not be able to count on support from this country.” [Emphasis added, RM]

Article #5 states that the Greens, at their party congress Saturday in Duesseldorf, decided that Ukraine should get “support with effective, including heavy and complex, weapons”, and that “the Bundeswehr special fund of 100 billion [euros; roughly equal to US dollars] was approved by a majority of the Greens there.”

In item #6 (the so-called “Sunday word, Wish of the Week”), our issue is also discussed, indirectly. In an apparent allusion to the reluctance of Bundeskanzler Scholz to provide weapons to Ukraine, the article conveys the impression that he has now obeyed the orders of the media and created the needed “clarity”.

Conclusion

What is being done here on a single page of a newspaper is an example of what many media in Germany are doing these days: They are playing down wars, they are promoting the idea that our participation in wars by supplying weapons and training Ukrainian soldiers is self-evident, nothing special, just a matter of course. Clearly, we are to be accustomed to wars.

This is dangerous because it systematically grinds down resistance to wars. The latest polls showing great admiration for German Foreign Minister Baerbock and her party colleague and Economics Minister Habeck indicate how popular the advocacy of confrontation has become. We have come a long way from the erstwhile consensus on “Never Again War.” Again, this is a dangerous development. Today’s politicians no longer have to take into account a popular opinion favoring peace.

It is good that that at least veteran officers of US intelligence agencies are warning against war. This is how far we have come: the leaders of the Green Party are playing with war. Intelligence veterans are warning against it.  [Emphasis added.]

This originally appeared at RayMcGovern.com.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

19 thoughts on “Ray McGovern on Germany: Bad News Far Outweighs the Good”

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKwCCLIXhUM

    Ever since the world ended
    I don’t go out as much
    People that I once befriended
    Just don’t bother to stay in touch
    Things that used to seem so splendid
    Don’t really matter today
    It’s just as well the world ended
    It wasn’t working anyway

    Every since the world ended
    There’s no more bible belt
    Remember how we all pretended?
    Going ’round, lying ’bout the way we felt
    Every rule has been amended,
    There’s no one keeping score
    It’s just as well the world ended
    We couldn’t have taken much more

    Ever since the world ended
    There’s no more black or white
    Ever since we all got blended
    There’s no more reason to fuss and fight
    Dogmas that we once defended
    No longer seem worthwhile
    Ever since the world ended
    I face the future
    With a smile

  2. Interesting article. Japan was subject to a regressive WWII rehabilitation, now its Germany’s turn. Japan’s took decades, but Germany seems to only have taken a few of years.

    Germany’s turn-around though, suggests a critical mass really are tired of WWII being held over their heads.

    Germans tried to put their acknowledged crimes of WWII behind them. That was denied in full despite a sound defeat that was far from free of atrocities against German citizens, especially by Soviet troops, an unprecedented war crimes trial for their leaders, reparations being paid, being an exceptional NATO ally throughout the Cold War.

    Just as in Ukraine, propaganda masters need something to work with; they can’t conjure mass sentiment out of thin air.

    Supporting Ukraine’s NATO-sponsored neo-Nazism may become a kind of catharsis for German angst over WWII, at least for a while till they figure out its just an exploit.

    1. It takes a real informative MSM, but no NATO member has a free press.
      In Germany there is no free press, once great papers and TV are trolling for US war lords as Americans do.

      1. It would be a mistake to assume a free press means unbiased MSM news.

        That has never been the case, even when the MSM wasn’t concentrated in the hands of a few multinational media companies. Advertisers, subscribers, distributers, and casual buyers all had influence.

        Wherever you see a country’s government complaining about fake news, its usually because there’s alternative news sources running counter to the MSM.

        That alternative news exists and has social influence, usually means there is a free press.

        Germany, is no different. Their MSM is also at war with alternative news sources such that the government has had to step in to try and regulate against ‘fake news’.

        1. What you say is all true, there has always been and always will be bias. But now it is more, there is a real elimination of honest dissent. MSM does not provide enough context to really analyze and understand the consequences of policies. MSM, because it is the MS information channel is the real culprit, it is all about the benefits corporate profits and corporate interests for all of us. People without access to computers and enough back ground education to seek and analyze what they hear and having the time to do it are not a big majority. That makes the manipulation of the public pretty easy.
          MSM should be obligated to tell the viewer the name of the corporations the retired military analysts, the former CIA officials and all the former gov elected and appointed gov. officials work as paid lobbyists. That is true for all the heads of the shows, many have been active politicians, also their salaries should be known, they are trolling for government which is controlled by the corporate elite. And even they get no more than a few minutes air time, but at least 24/7and pertinent question never come up either.

          Chris Hedges, a real journalist with true ME expertise was fired when he worked for the NYTs because he did not agree with the editors about illegal Iraq war, a war crime. He is only one of many out there. Nothing has changed since then.

          No independent, qualified, dissenting journalist or diplomat, academical people with expertise about Russia and Ukraine are guests on the cable channels, 24/7 there is nothing but the government narrative. MSM people gave up their integrity for million $$$ salaries. I know of no exception.

          1. The main problem is the consolidation of the MSM press into a handful of multinational media companies.

            Diversity of opinions still exists, but there are far fewer platforms promoting all of them. As the consolidating MSM failed to cover all opinions, people tuned out and more large outlets went under.

            This did create the opportunity for truly fresh alternative news services to fill the void. Despite deplatforming and now payment service cutoffs, MSM now needs payment companies to cut off alt news the government to step in and fight alt news.

            This demonstrates that the free press is still there and still viable. We just need to keep pushing and fighting for it by supporting these outlets and and pressing elected government officials to stop the censorship.

            In Canada, the MSM has collapsed to the point that the Government has to step in with ‘relief’ payments.

            https://www.rebelnews.com/exclusive_news_media_who_secretly_took_trudeaus_61m_pre-election_pay-off

            Its a close fight, but freedom of the press can still win this.

    2. Eh, I don’t see Germans having that level of agency. The US empire just wants to use the Japanese and German economies for war, wants to keep both countries subdued otherwise.

      Regular Germans likely are just proud internationalists who see Russia as behaving like Hitler. But regular people have little agency, especially without a free press. They’re internationalist, because they’re told to be.

      Also, the US doesn’t want Germany becoming strong enough to be independent via the use of Russian resources. Causing a division there keeps the US empire in charge. The US wants to prevent China’s Eurasia from arising.

      You seem to always believe little people have agency.

      1. Admittedly so. Without the belief that people have agency, there wouldn’t be much point in being libertarian.

        The art of propaganda, is the art of selling the choices the propagandist wants chosen.

        This includes the menu of choices. People tend to want to believe they are basically good and innocent of the bad things they inevitably enable as part of imperfect society.

        Blaming Putin is easier than blaming their leaders and their own failure to hold their governments accountable.

  3. After the First World War with Russia the Great Germany has been a weakened but united nation. After the Second World War a much smaller Germany had been divided for many years. After a Third World War with Russia all of the EU will follow Germany’s destruction.

    1. Biden is doing all he can to get NATO involved making Europe the battle field, Germany is not sovereign, but all coerced NATO members together could tell Biden to go to hell, they should stop funding and sending weapons, Hungary did and the EU is so stupid and sanctions its own member, all on orders of an old man with dementia and delusion of grandeur. They are as insane as the old man is. We need a regime change, we need to be bailed out by a sane mind.
      I did not know they had demonstrations in Berlin on May, 01 against the war, it was on Chinese TV.

  4. After Nazi Germany has killed more than 20 million Russians during WWII, the thought that Germany is once again arming Ukrainian Nazis to kill even more Russians is totally unbearable. And let’s face it, even moderate Ukrainian nationalists consider Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera a national hero even though his organization has killed 100,000 Poles and Jews.

    Back in the 1980s, millions of peace demonstrators went onto the streets in Germany to demonstrate against the stationing of Pershing II/SS-20 intermediate range missiles in Europe. The result was the INF treaty. Today, that treaty has been thrashed and the US is getting ready to station the next generation of hypersonic intermediate range missiles (Dark Eagle) in Europe without anybody protesting.

    The environmental Green party that grew out of that peace movement has turned into a war party with the foreign minister Baerbock ridiculing Russian concerns about the repression of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, such as happened during the Odessa massacre or the bombing of the Donbas. They are itching for war while abandoning the fight against climate change by planning to burn more lignite. And I thought Trump was bad.

    I left Germany 50 years ago, but I keep on asking young Germans what has happened to account for that change. After all, the guilt cult about the holocaust is alive and kicking to provide unconditional support for Israel. So what has happened? They don’t have a clue because they didn’t notice all the small changes that have occurred over the decades.

    What has happened is REUNIFICATION. That was the original sin that led us all the way to war in Ukraine. Reunification integrated the former GDR in EU and Nato. Assurances were given to Gorbachev that Nato would not expand “one inch Eastward”. It was a lie. Western leaders always intended to fool the Russians. And Germans played a big part in it. Kohl and Genscher lied to Gorbachev, the current president Steinmeier lied to Putin’s envoy in Kyiv in 2014, Merkel lied during the Minsk II talks. They lied all the way.

    It started with former foreign minister Genscher facilitating the breakup of Yugoslavia and with Schroeder/Fischer condoning the bombing of Serbia. It continued with former East German dissident Gauk, turned German president, wanting Germany to take greater responsibility in the world. For the last 20 years, Germans have been fabulating about having to defend their security in the Hindu Kush (Afghanistan) against a bunch of medieval warriors, yet they consider Russians to be irrational if they want to defend their country against the most powerful military alliance of all times moving right up to its border with hostile intent. How can a people be so deluded? I don’t get it.

    To be fair, it’s mostly the main stream media which has been well trained by US institutions during the post-war period that’s rabidly anti-Russian. The British Bellingcat and the Integrity Initiative have also been manipulating public opinion in Germany. Many comments on news sites that haven’t yet been censored show a lot of scepticism about the war propaganda. But the constant stream of war propaganda and disinformation is wearing people down.

  5. “…Here we see a familiar two-step manipulation…”. ProWar Propaganda is all manipulation.

  6. I’m like a broken record, but my view is always that the US needs to fully exit Europe and drastically cut its defence budget, bring everyone home. What Germany and Russia do is between them. They need to find some balance.

    If Europe can’t keep the US out, it should figure how that can be achieved. Quite often, one way the US does damage to others is some ideology or policy will seem to work well in the US and so will be exported overseas to others, where it might work less well at that point in time. So, it’s not always intentional.

    I have trouble believing intelligence agencies are acting to prevent war. Maybe they’re full of a diverse mix of people, some doing good or at least less harm than are others.

  7. It is not only Germany, it is France and Italy and the other NATO members too. On orders of the USA they cut their noses to spite their face. MSM is censored just as it is here, they all report the same lies, the same propaganda. The manipulation of public opinion is mind boggling. Germany is not a sovereign nation, the USA is still the occupier. The politicians are traitors, they know what they are doing, they can’t be that stupid.
    Sweden and Finland, why on earth would they want to become NATO members, give up their sovereignty for the privilege to become proxies and cannon fodder for US interests like the rest of Europe? They will fund weapons and provide soldiers and turn their nations into a battle field. The government is obfuscating and not with one word did they mention what they expect to gain and how much it will cost them and no one is asking. Cui bono? The US war profiteers will make huge profits, they are the winners.
    If the Europeans are lucky they will end up like Iraq and Syria, the ME and Ukraine.

    1. It might no longer be just the US as occupier. There might be some international aspect. WEF is too clownish to be in charge, but something like it, maybe Five Eyes intelligence agencies, might be in charge.

      There are clearly global ambitions whatever the case. Maybe it’s simply just the military industrial complex wanting to make money…

      If each society is run by a small managerial elite, then controlling that elite becomes critical to some larger aim of an elite. But maybe these people are just corrupt wanting money from MIC, after taking money from Big Pharma.

      I dunno who has agency. Biden, Johnson, Ardern of NZ, and Trudeau all seem to be useful idiots. Orban in Hungary is capable; he’s hated by this elite. The EU parliament just vote on bills they haven’t read, seem to lack agency. The US Congress doesn’t read many bills it passes, especially Omnibus spending bills. Who is in charge?

  8. In the US, after Biden was humiliated by not having an example of white suprem violence, there’s recently been some “neo Nazi” attacking people at some rally in Portland.

    So, Biden has his example of violence.

    I really feel this is all staged. Germany just happens to act as the US wants, Greens coopted. Portland just happens to produce some guy who acts as Biden wants. Pakistan recently just happened to have a terrorist attack against Chinese. The Supreme Court just happened to have a leak that would send voters to support Dems. Just when it’s needed by the elite, oh it happens to happen.

    If Biden is determined to start some nuclear war, I’m increasingly wanting to just be out of the way. It feels at times like he or whatever elite are just totally in control. If Biden controls all these extremist groups, he controls the political theatre.

  9. JFK was prescient.. “Ich bin ein Jelly Donut!”…. Or “sulky liver sausage” if you prefer the Ukrainian translation.

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