Daily Archives: November 1, 2008

The first Boys From Brazil: Nazi graveyard discovered deep in the Amazon rainforest

Final resting place: Brazilian natives at a Nazi grave in the Amazon. The wooden cross decorated with swastikas carries the inscription: ‘Joseph Greiner died here on 2.1.1936’

Daily Mail | Oct 24, 2008

By Alan Hall

A graveyard of former Nazis bent on creating a ‘foreign Fatherland’ in the Amazonian rainforests from which to spread Hitler’s maniacal beliefs has been discovered in Brazil.

The relics betray a madcap plan back in the 1930s to create a master race thousands of miles from Germany.

The graveyard and other ruins that fanatical Nazis left behind are chronicled in a new book.

Entitled ’The Guayana-Projekt. A German Adventure on the Amazon’ it says die-hard Nazis believed they were destined to settle the world like pioneers of the wild west in America.

It has long been known that Nazis wandered post-war into the remote regions of South America, befriended by fascist governments and military dictatorships.

The 1978 film Boys From Brazil told a of a bizarre plot to clone Hitler that was hatched by Joseph Mengele in his jungle hideout.

But the harshness of the Amazonian jungle was a strange choice of destination.

Historical Nazi ‘footprints’ are found in grave markers with swastikas, photos found in archives back home and the remains of dwellings.

On an island on a tributary of the River Jary in Brazil author Jens Gluessing found a nine-foot high wooden cross decorated with swastikas that testified to one of the explorers who never made it back to Berlin.

It carries the inscription: ‘Joseph Greiner died here on 2.1.1936, a death from fever in the service of German Research Work.’

Locals call the site ‘The Nazi graveyard’ but it was originally destined to be part of a string of Nazi settlements across the Amazon which Hitler missionaries would use as jumping-off points to spread the gospel of totalitarianism.

In archives of the Brazilian State Department and the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Gluessing found details of Greiner’s jungle mission.

Greiner arrived in 1935, bankrolled by the Nazi government and died of yellow fever or Malaria. He was one of three sent out by S.S race specialists as the vanguard of what they perceived would be a wave of settlers.

Greiner and his compatriots had dozens of helpers with them exploring the region bordering French Guyana with a view to populating it for the Reich. They also had their sights on the neighbouring British and Dutch colonies.

They sent back to Berlin details of how a German soldiers should live in Brazil, even though their cover story was that they were collecting specimens of fauna and wildlife.

Schulz Kampfhenkel, an officer in the S.S. and leader of the expedition which claimed Greiner’s life, returned from the jungles and submitted to his boss Heinrich Himmler details of the ’Guayana Project.’

‘The two largest scantly populated, but rich in resources, areas on earth are in Siberia and South America,’ he wrote to Himmler. ‘They alone offer spacious immigration and settlement possibilities for the Nordic peoples.’

As Siberia semed likely to fall at that time to China, he recommended colonising Amazonia for ‘people without living space.’

He added in typically Nazi fashion: ‘For the more advanced white race it offers outstanding possibilities for exploitation.’

A film was produced showing Greiner’s work in the jungle in the 1930s. He believed the Nazis could colonise ‘Amazonia’

As befitting an S.S. man who bought wholly into concepts of Nazi race purity he said the people who lived there ‘cannot be measured in civilised terms as we known them in Germany.’

With one million German settlers in Brazil already, he argued the seedcorn was already there for the expansion of the Third Reich and that they could secure a ‘bridgehead’ against American influence in the region.

The author found evidence, however, that Himmler had ‘scant interest’ in his grandiose settlement plans. A Nazi film was made of his travels – but no mention made of the Guayana Project: it remained classified by S.S. intelligence.

‘Given time, the plan may be submitted again,’ Himmler wrote to his jungle emissary.

But his experiences were put to use by the Nazi war machine: he became Nazi Germany’s leading expert in aerial photo-reconnaissance interpretation.

After the war the Americans arrested him and he was placed in a POW camp in Salzburg, Austria. Released, he died in 1989, still dreaming of a German colony amid the rain forests.

Global financial crisis may force Scandanavians to adopt the Euro

Greek 2 Euro Coin, Europa riding on the back of Zeus as a bull

Euro fever sweeps through Scandinavia as currencies dive New rush to join the euro as Sweden and Denmark moot polls

Fall-out from global financial crisis reveals risk of shunning single currency

Inependent | Nov 1, 2008

By Vanessa Mock in Stockholm

The Swedish krona has plummeted to its lowest-ever level against the euro.

The Danish and Swedish governments have begun preparing the ground for referendums on joining the euro, as part of a huge political reversal across Europe’s northern fringes in favour of the single currency. Although voters have overwhelming rejected the euro in the past, both countries are now pointing to the recent damage inflicted on their national currencies as evidence that staying out has left them dangerously over-exposed to market vagaries.

“The financial turmoil has made it clear to all Danes that there is both a political and economic cost of staying out of the eurozone and that’s why we should join it as soon as possible,” the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this week. He voiced frustration at not having a say in bail-out plans drafted by Eurozone economies. “We just had to follow the rest, who took a decisive lead.”

Danes were now having to carry a “very heavy burden”, Mr Rasmussen said, after the Danish Central Bank’s move to raise interest rates to 5.5 per cent to support the krone. The Danish currency is closely pegged to the euro and has come under fierce pressure as investors dump it in favour of bigger and safer currencies. “Over half of the electorate is now in favour of the Euro and the reason is simple: before, we had to warn them about the danger of staying out, now they’re actually experiencing it for themselves.”

In Sweden, the krona has plummeted to its lowest value against the euro since the currency’s launch in 1999. “We should have joined the euro a long time ago, we would have been far better off,” Cecilia Malmstrom, Sweden’s Europe Minister said yesterday. “It makes no sense whatsoever for us to stay out and if we could hold a referendum tomorrow, we would.”

Euro fervour has even spread as far as Iceland, which although not a member of the European Union, is now also seriously considering swapping its own currency which has nose-dived by more than 40 per cent this year.

A large majority of Swedes voted against the euro in 2003 but a new opinion poll shows a major turn-around in public opinion, with over 46 per cent saying they are now ready to surrender their beloved krona, which is emblazoned with their queen’s image. “This has change has happened without any campaigning from our side so I’m sure that we turn it into big majority, which is why we should try to hold a re-run of a referendum as soon as possible,” Ms Malmstrom said.

Although the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, says he will not organise a referendum before 2010, three out of the four ruling parties say they will hold a poll soon after. The Danish Prime Minister has refused to name a referendum date but senior officials say they do not rule out a poll as early as next year. But despite the current enthusiasm, both governments will struggle to address deep-rooted fears among their voters that giving up their currencies would tie them closer to the EU.

On the Drottninggatan, a shopping street in Stockholm, Swedes were divided. One man in his fifties held out a handful of coins, saying: “I know the value of this money, it’s safe and I don’t see reason to change.” A mother fretted about rising prices if the euro was introduced. “Things will just get more expensive like they did in other countries.”

The Eurozone: Who’s a member?

*There are 15 member states of the Eurozone. They are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. Slovakia will join in 2009.

Act soon or face $15 trillion climate bill, Treasury warns

The Age | Nov 1, 2008

By Adam Morton

THE world could face a bill of more than $15 trillion if it chooses to let atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration reach a dangerous level before trying to wind it back, Treasury modelling suggests.

Conversely, it could cost $610 billion to soften a more aggressive global climate change target if it proved too ambitious.

The stark contrast adds weight to claims by environmentalists and climate scientists that it makes economic sense for Australia to commit to deep emissions cuts by 2020 while pushing for a strong global climate deal.

Spelt out in modelling on the impact of emissions trading released this week, the figures support setting a bold short-term greenhouse reduction target to stabilise carbon dioxide levels at 450 parts per million (ppm).

It throws a question mark over the economics of government climate adviser Ross Garnaut’s recommendation that Australia signal it would accept a 550ppm target — the only global deal he believes is possible in the short-term — as a pathway to 450ppm.

Climate Institute policy director Erwin Jackson said the modelling reinforced that the costs of stalling on climate change were not just environmental and human, but economic.

“The longer we delay action, the more likely it is that future governments and our kids will have to decide to massively restructure the economy very quickly, as opposed to the choice we can make today to take decisive, smooth action to reduce emissions,” he said.

Like all economic modelling, the projected costs of changing stabilisation targets turn on contentious assumptions — in this case an ethical assessment of how the welfare of future generations should be balanced against that of people living today. Known as the social discount rate, there is little agreement between economist on how it should be valued.

Former World Bank chief economist Lord Nicholas Stern put it at 1.4%, a rate that puts more weight on the welfare of those yet to be born than anything modelled by Treasury.

A discount rate of 2% puts the cost of strengthening the stabilisation target from 550ppm to 450ppm at $15.1 trillion. Weakening the target from 450ppm to 550ppm would cost only $610 billion.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday warned that Australia could face tariffs from more climate conscious nations if it failed to cut emissions.

“You don’t want to get to a stage in 10, 15, 20 years’ time where suddenly you have to make a massive transformation,” he said.

The Opposition is calling for the Government to delay emissions trading, saying the modelling failed to factor in the global financial crisis or the possibility no global deal would be struck.

Integrated transatlantic economy to be set up by 2025

EurActiv| 31 October 2008

By Joseph Quinlan, Bank of America Capital Management

While the “first decade and a half of globalisation was largely driven and shaped by the United States and Europe,” tomorrow’s world will be multipolar, with rising powers posing both opportunities and risks for the transatlantic economy, writes Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Capital Management, for the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

His October paper argues that the transatlantic economy will remain “one of the largest and most powerful economic entities in the world in 2025,” but predicts a shift in world economic power as the figures for global output in purchasing power parity terms, currently 60% for the developed world and 40% for developing countries, are reversed.

The US and the EU will both lose ground as global manufacturing output shifts towards emerging nations and their new corporate actors begin to challenge American and European players, Quinlan predicts. Moreover, nations outside the transatlantic structure will seek more influence in multilateral institutions as their increasing capital and natural resources lend them more weight. New international alignments can be expected as a result of the rise of China, India, Russia and Brazil, he observes.

Globalisation is nevertheless not a “zero-sum game,” the paper recalls, warning that trade and investment protectionism would only be to the detriment of global growth. Transatlantic relations must be transformed to embrace the benefits of facilitating integration of developing countries into the global economy.

Quinlan recommends that the EU and the US identify mutual interests with developing countries and step up cooperation, citing climate change, energy security and aging populations as possible areas where joint efforts would be beneficial to all parties. Developed countries should also engage China and other key developing states in multilateral organisations, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, to coordinate global macroeconomic policies, he adds.

Next, Europe and the US must further strengthen their partnership, as removing the remaining barriers to trade would significantly improve the competitiveness of the transatlantic economy, the paper states.

Finally, both the EU and the US must tackle their own economic issues to build confidence in their economies, Quinlan concludes, suggesting that the US increases its national savings rate and reforms its social security system, while calling on the EU to reform its labour market and implement the Lisbon growth and jobs agenda.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States: The Shape of the Future: The Transatlantic Economy by 2025

Russian Communists say Ukraine Bond girl a traitor

AP | Oct 31, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — First it was Indiana Jones. Now it’s James Bond’s latest lady friend.

The Communist Party in St. Petersburg says Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian-born model who plays a Bolivian agent in the latest Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” has betrayed her roots.

“In the name of all communists we appeal to you, prodigal daughter of poor Ukraine and deserter of Slavic world,” the party said in an open letter dated Oct. 21 and posted on their Web site Friday.

The Soviet Union “gave you free education, free medical care but nobody knew you would commit an act of intellectual and moral betrayal that you would become a movie kept girl of Bond, who in his movies kills hundreds of Soviet people and citizens of other socialist countries: Cubans, Vietnamese, North Koreans, Chinese and Nicaraguans,” the party said.

Sergei Malenkovich, head of the party’s regional organization, told The Associated Press that latest Bond movie is “an insult for Russians”

“In this movie they wanted to show that a Ukrainian girl sleeps with an American. It’s a part of information and psychological war,” he said.

In fact, Kurylenko does not have sex with Daniel Craig’s Bond — unlike nearly all other leading ladies in the Bond films — only exchanging a kiss toward the end of the film. And Bond is actually a British secret agent.

The vitriol from the St. Petersburg communists — an independent party not formally affiliated with the national Communist party — is the latest to be directed at a Western film.

The party took great umbrage at “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which features an evil KGB agent played by Cate Blanchett, saying the film undermined communist ideology and distorted history.

Florida Town Breaks 1950s Low Temperature Records for 2nd Straight Day in a Row

The Ledger | Oct 30, 2008

Lakeland, FL – Lakeland set a low temperature record Thursday for the second straight day.

A reading of 42 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport broke the record of 46 for Oct. 30, which had stood since 1952.

Wednesday, a reading of 38 marked the first time temperatures in the 30s have ever been reported in Polk County during October. The previous low was 42 on Oct. 21, 1989.

That reading of 38 also set the record for the date, which had been 48 in 1957.

But this spell of cold weather is now over, said Mike Clay of Bay News 9.

Clay said temperatures the next few days are expected to range from the low 60s to the 80s.

He said there is a 20 percent chance of rain Saturday and a 40 percent chance Sunday.

Brazil wants to construct a New World Economic Order

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the U.S-Brazil CEO Forum in Sao Paulo, Friday, Oct. 10, 2008. President Lula called or a new push to clinch a global free trade agreement, saying it’s one of the most important steps governments can now take to make sure the global economy doesn’t descend into chaos. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

AP | Oct 10, 2008


SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s president said Friday that emerging market nations like Brazil must have a strong say in developing strict international rules for financial institutions.

Brazil and other developing countries “need to learn from this crisis to construct a new world economic order,” President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a speech to Brazilian and American trade investment forum attended by U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

Silva demanded tighter regulations for high risk investments in rich nations that he and many other leaders of developing market nations blame for eroding their economies after they spent decades adopting U.S. backed reforms.

New rules are crucial to “control the anarchy that is hitting the world economy,” Silva said, laying out harsh criticism for bankers who made risky bets on mortgage-backed securities that went bad.

“What happened is that some people acted like they were teenagers with failing grades on their report cards, wanting to hide them from their parents,” Silva said.

Central banks around the planet must adopt new rules, and governments must make sure financial institutions comply or are punished to prevent another debacle like the U.S.-born crisis, Silva said.

The president reiterated his belief that Brazil is better insulated from a deep domestic economic crisis because it has put its financial house in order, paying off its foreign debt and accumulating more than US$200 billion in foreign reserves.

However, shares on Brazil’s Ibovespa index fell for the fifth day in a row, closing down 4 percent at 35,610. And Brazil’s currency fell another 4.5 percent against the dollar, as the central bank auctioned reserves to halt the slide. The real has lost more than 30 percent of its value since Aug. 1.

Silva said Brazil will stick to its plans for hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment in coming years, including hydroelectric dams, highway improvements and railways.

He also called Friday for a new global free trade agreement as an important step to prevent economic chaos.

In an interview with The Associated Press, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez acknowledged the anger across the planet aimed at the United States for causing the crisis, but said regulatory reforms must wait until the U.S. bailout package starts rippling through the economy and restoring credit.

“We are working as hard as we can to fix it,” he said.

Silva said he lobbied for progress on the stalled World Trade Organization trade negotiations several days ago in a phone call with President Bush, and will deliver the same message in India next week to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Gutierrez echoed Silva’s message that free trade — and not protectionism — is needed to bolster the global economy. But he said there is little hope of an agreement on a world trade treaty until after the inauguration of a new U.S. president in January.

U.S. border police arrest Mexican troops

Reuters | Oct 31, 2008

PHOENIX (Reuters) – U.S. border police arrested seven Mexican soldiers after they accidentally strayed over the international boundary into Arizona, authorities said.

The U.S. Border Patrol said agents encountered the troops in a Humvee a short distance north of the border near Yuma, in far west Arizona, early on Friday.

“The Border Patrol agents on scene established a dialogue with the subjects, who identified themselves as members of the Mexican military,” the Border Patrol said in a news release.

“The … agents informed them of their presence within the United States. Upon notification, the subjects were peaceably taken into custody,” it added.

The soldiers, who were assigned to the 23rd Regiment Motorized Cavalry of the Mexican Army, said they had become disoriented while on patrol and had accidentally crossed the international boundary, the Border Patrol said.

After relieving them of their arms, agents took the soldiers to the San Luis, Arizona, port of entry where they were processed and repatriated to Mexico, along with their weapons and vehicle.

The incursion was the second by Mexican troops in recent months.

In August, a group of four Mexican soldiers briefly held a U.S. Border Patrol agent at gunpoint in a remote stretch of the Arizona desert after they mistakenly strayed north across the border.

5 Mexican military members linked to drug cartel

AP | Oct 31, 2008


MEXICO CITY (AP) — Four Mexican military officers and one soldier are under investigation for alleged links to one of the country’s most powerful drug cartels, Mexico’s Defense Department said Friday.

The investigation capped a week of corruption scandals that have arisen from the January arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, a reputed top lieutenant in the Sinaloa drug cartel believed to have penetrated many of Mexico’s security agencies.

The Defense Department said in the statement that Beltran Leyva’s arrest led authorities to investigate the five military members. They were all turned over to prosecutors on Jan. 29, but their cases weren’t made public until Friday.

Officials would give no more details on their cases.

On Monday, officials in the federal Attorney General’s office said five authorities in the organized crime unit had been arrested for informing the Beltran Leyva cartel and a spy inside the U.S. Embassy may have been handing over details of DEA operations.

On Thursday, Reforma newspaper reported that, with Beltran Leyva’s arrest, officials had found a list of military members who were allegedly being paid to work for the drug lord.

Mexican authorities refused to comment on that report, or say it if was related to Friday’s revelation.

The corruption scandals are the most serious known infiltration of anti-crime agencies since the 1997 arrest of Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, then head of Mexico’s anti-drug agency. Gutierrez Rebollo was later convicted of aiding drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

President Felipe Calderon has long acknowledged that corruption is a problem among the federal police and soldiers charged with leading Mexico’s anti-drug campaign, but this week’s announcements were nonetheless a major blow to his nationwide campaign to take back territory controlled by cartels.

Mexico acknowledges drug gang infiltration of police

LA Times | Oct 31, 2008

By Tracy Wilkinson

In a damning blow to its fight against drug traffickers, the Mexican government Monday acknowledged severe penetration of a top law enforcement agency by a vicious gang that may even have bought intelligence on U.S. operations from renegade employees.

At least 35 officials and agents from an elite unit within the federal attorney general’s office have been fired or arrested in an investigation that began July 31 following tips from an informer. The officials, including a senior intelligence director, are believed to have been leaking sensitive information to the very traffickers they were investigating for as long as four years, prosecutors said.

In exchange, prosecutors said, the corrupt government officials received monthly payments of $150,000 to $450,000 each from the so-called Beltran Leyva cartel, a drug gang based in the Pacific state of Sinaloa that is engaged in a bloody fight with rivals for domination of the region’s lucrative trade.

The group has also been linked to crimes, including the May killing of Edgar Millan Gomez, acting chief of a federal police agency, who authorities believe was targeted in revenge for the arrest of alleged traffickers including top cartel operative Alfredo Beltran Leyva.