In our opinion, the media, at least here in Austria, reported with comparatively insufficient coverage about the recent devastating flood in Western Germany. The destruction is enormous. Over 1,000 people are missing. The small town of Schuld in the Ahr Valley was badly hit. One family could only save themselves on the roof, other houses have collapsed or torn away, it looks like after a tsunami. The best way to get an impression of the disaster is to look at the pictures: volksfreund.de, daswetter.com. Belgium and the Netherlands were also hit: tagesschau.de. Internet, cellular and telephone were down. Most of the cell phone base stations are now back on power, but many of the fiber optic cables have been torn off, f.i. because they were routed across torn bridges. In some areas there will be no internet until 2022. In many places, electricity and water also have to be built from scratch; that's going to take time.
According to the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor's Office, the lawyer Hanno Berger, wanted as cum-ex architect, was arrested on July 7th in Graubünden, Switzerland. He is currently resisting extradition to Germany. The Augsburger Allgemeine reported on July 27th that he is still in custody of extradition in Switzerland. Cum-Ex is the biggest fraud scandal in German tax history, in which taxes that were never paid were “refunded” on state costs. An important decision also lately had to be made in Karlsruhe: The highest judges ruled that Cum-Ex was criminal and not just illegal and that the criminal offenses are therefore not yet statute-barred (welt.de 07/28/2021).
Jessica Reznicek has been sentenced to eight years in prison, followed by three years probation, and a restitution of over three million dollars paid to Energy Transfer Partners for taking nonviolent direct action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is unbelievable that this is taking place in a democratic state like the US. We have already warned about respective legislation in the message preceding this one. For comparison, people who took place in the recent demonstrations against the Cuban regime were sentenced to one year as long as they did not participate in plunder. NASA Climate Scientist Peter Kalmus echoed the common sentiment saying, “Jessica was sentenced to 8 years for protecting all of us from climate and ecological breakdown. She acted from necessity and from love. She is a hero, not a terrorist.”
Companies from our democratic states are creating surveillance technology and selling it to dictatorships. Muammar al-Gaddafi has been just one known client. The latest leak is about the Israelian firm NSO which created the Pegasus spyware. It was used to target blogger Jamal Khashoggi who was against the radical religiouos Wahhabits and who was then assasinated by the Saudi Arabian government. However the victims of Pegasus now leaked by coincidence do not only reside in dictatorships. A journalist in the democratic EU country Hungary was also targeted putting his sources at risk. The Salzburger Nachrichten from the 22rd of June reported that an Austrian businessman was targeted as well. Intrusive spyware and surveillance technology are antidemocratic in nature and should at best be banned wholly. At least it should be forbidden to sell such software, Edward Snowden says. Besides this it is also well known that companies like Microsoft have sold software for censorship of the internet to China and participated in the PRISM surveillance program to make the NSA access data of non US-citizens hosted by American companies. Google and Apple are not any better in this regard.
The total ban on abortion as it exists in Poland is also against the life and health of the child and mother and therefore needs to be said to be contrary to human rights. In Poland, homosexuals are excluded from many residential complexes and some cities have even declared themselves free of lesbians and gays. This is illegitimate discrimination, because lesbians and gays also want to be able to choose where they live. Where is the EU here that demands equal treatment? Even worse, the PiS government in Poland has damaged and abrogated the separation of powers as one of the foundations of every democratic state, i.e. the division into executive, legislative and jurisidictional power. The Minister of Justice can now dismiss judges there at will and without giving reasons, or keep them in office longer than planned. Poland is also ignoring a ruling by the European Court of Justice at the Turow coal mine, where it is dredging groundwater in the Czech Republic. The EU is a legislative and jurisdictional body that is to be recognized by its members. It cannot be that the Polish government does not do this but, as a net recipient, still books all the advantages for itself. I see the situation in Hungary differently. Regarding the new law, it should be noted that the homosexual orientation is clearly abnormal and that the goal of protecting children from a distorted perception of reality is legitimate. With regard to the question of immigration, it must be recognized that it is up to the rightful owners of their land, which they have inhabited for generations, to decide whom to accept and who not to. The admission of individuals personally persecuted for political reasons as covered by the asylum law cannot be used to legalize mass migration (see our previous message on this). It should be noted, however, that Hungary has to meet the criteria for corona aid in the same way as all other countries have to and that it will likely need to make improvements here.