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Tag Archive: Germany


 

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ZeroHedge

“Social Explosion” Begins In Greece As Massive Street Protests Bring Economy To A Fresh Halt

One thing that became abundantly clear after Alexis Tsipras sold out the Greek referendum “no” back in the summer after a weekend of “mental waterboarding” in Brussels was that the public’s perception of the once “revolutionary” leader would never be the same. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what Berlin, Brussels, and the IMF wanted.

By turning the screws on the Greek banking sector and bringing the country to the brink of ruin, the troika indicated its willingness to “punish” recalcitrant politicians who pursue anti-austerity policies. On the one hand, countries have an obligation to pay back what they owe, but on the other, the subversion of the democratic process by using the purse string to effect political change is a rather disconcerting phenomenon and we expect we’ll see it again with regard to the Socialists in Portugal.

After a month of infighting within Syriza Tsipras did manage to consolidate the party and win a snap election but he’s not the man he was – or at least not outwardly. He’s obligated to still to the draconian terms of the bailout and that means he is a shadow of his former self ideologically. As we’ve said before, that doesn’t bode well for societal stability.

On Thursday, we get the first shot across the social upheaval bow as the same voters who once came out in force to champion Tsipras and Syriza are staging massive protests and walkouts.

 

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Bloomberg Business

Greece Comes to a Standstill as Unions Turn Against Tsipras

November 11, 2015 — 6:01 PM CST Updated on November 12, 2015 — 6:04 AM CST
  • Unions hold general strike to protest against austerity
  • PM races to satisfy creditor demands in exchange for funds

As Greek workers took to the streets in protest on Thursday, Alexis Tsipras was for the first time on the other side of the divide.

Unions — a key support base for the prime minister’s Syriza party — chanted in rallies held in Athens the same slogans Tsipras once used against opponents. Doctors and pharmacists joined port workers, civil servants and Athens metro staff in Greece’s first general strike since he took office in January, bringing the country to a standstill for 24 hours.

As many as 20,000 protesters gathered in central Athens while a small group of anarchists at the tail of the demonstration threw petrol bombs at police officers at around 1:30 pm local time, a police spokesman said, requesting anonymity in line with policy. The police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Greece’s biggest unions, ADEDY and GSEE, are holding marches accusing Tsipras of bowing to creditors and imposing measures that “perpetuate the dark ages for workers,” as the country’s statistical agency released data showing that 1.18 million Greeks, or 24.6 percent of the workforce, remained unemployed in August.

The 41-year-old Greek premier, who was among anti-austerity protesters in previous general strikes, is now racing to complete negotiations with creditors on belt-tightening in exchange for the disbursement of 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion) to be injected into banks. Failure to reach an accord with euro-area member states and the International Monetary Fund on policies including primary residence foreclosures, and stricter rules on overdue taxes, would put the solvency of the country’s lenders in doubt.

“The economic policies Tsipras has to implement are definitely harsher than warranted, and also harsher than they would be if it wasn’t for these seven months of brinkmanship and extreme political uncertainty,” said Manolis Galenianos, a Professor of Economics at the Royal Holloway, University of London. “This wasn’t necessary, it could have been avoided, and the government will now implement deeper cuts to achieve less ambitious fiscal targets.”

 

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Photo essay / Drill aims to test the mettle of the men and women at the controls, rather than the technical capabilities of their fighter jets

Israel hosts its largest-ever international air force exercise

Israeli, American, Greek, and Polish air personnel square off against a fictional enemy state in two-week drill

October 30, 2015, 12:53 am 46

Israeli and foreign fighter jets fly in formation through cloudy skies over the Negev desert during the 'Blue Flag' exercise at Ovda Airfield near Eilat on Oct. 27, 2015. (Israel Air Force)

Israeli and foreign fighter jets fly in formation through cloudy skies over the Negev desert during the ‘Blue Flag’ exercise at Ovda Airfield near Eilat on October 27, 2015. (Israeli Air Force)

 

Air forces from around the world have gathered deep in the Arava desert in the south of Israel for the past week and a half to take part in the largest aerial exercise in the history of the Israeli Air Force.

The “Blue Flag” exercise, which is continuing through November 3, pits the Israeli Air Force, the United States Air Force, Greece’s Hellenic Air Force and the Polish Air Force against a fictional enemy state, the captain in charge of all IAF exercises told The Times of Israel Thursday night.

A number of other countries, including Germany, also sent pilots and officers to observe the exercise, but did not take part.

This joint drill is the second “Blue Flag” exercise; the first took place in 2013 and was the largest multi-lateral exercise the IAF had ever hosted.

The various air forces collaborated closely through every step of the current exercise, the IAF captain said, from planning to execution and finally to debriefing.

Though the exercise began on October 18, planning for it started nearly eight months ago, the Israeli official said, with an IAF representative contacting each participating country and initially asking, “What do you want to train for?”

Those requests came together to form the plan for “Blue Flag,” which sent Israeli and American F-15 squadrons, along with Israeli, Hellenic and Polish F-16 squadrons, flying through nearly all of Israel’s air space, firing simulated weapons against fictional enemy missile launchers, convoys and aircraft, he said.

 

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Israel hosts largest-ever intl air force drill, pitting troops against fictional enemy

© Israeli Air Force
Israel is hosting its largest-ever international air force exercise. The two-week ‘Blue Flag’ drill features Israeli, American, Greek and Polish troops in a battle against a fictional enemy state.

The Blue Flag drill consists of Israeli and American F-15 squadrons, as well as Israeli, Hellenic, and Polish F-16 squadrons flying through Israeli airspace while firing simulated weapons against fictional enemy missile launchers, convoys, and aircraft, the Israeli Air Force captain in charge of the exercise told the Times of Israel.

© Israeli Air Force

However, the captain said the exercise is designed to test the capabilities of the troops involved, rather than the military equipment itself.

“We wanted it to be challenging for the airmen, rather than for the machines,” said the IAF captain, who could not be named due to security reasons.

 

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The following maps are presented  simply to put the sheer proximity  of the  military exercises and the  Russian Airbus A321 crash.

 

FinanceTwitter Home

Russian Airbus A321 Crash – Can Putin Feel What Malaysians & Dutch Felt?

Russian Airbus A321-200 Flight 7K9268 Crash - FlightRadar24 Map

However, the Egyptian government has rubbished that the plane was shot down by missile. The Russian concluded that the Russian Airbus A321 that crashed in the Sinai broke up in mid-air at 36,000-feet. The plane had been heading from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to the Russian city of St Petersburg before the crash.

 

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CULTUREEL WOORDENBOEK

Suez-crisis map of Troop Movements

https://i0.wp.com/www.cultureelwoordenboek.nl/images/suez_war.gif

Suez-crisis

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Euroflights.info

Eilat with airports

Eilat Israel Port On a Map

Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel. Eilat is located on the Red Sea and is an important port for Israel and a popular resort town

Ovda Airport

Ovda Airport is located 45 km to the north from Eilat.

King Hussein International Airport, Jordan

King Hussein International Airport is located 10 km to the north east from Eilat.

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New York Times

Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Credit Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

The claim by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel that a Palestinian persuaded Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews of Europe is outrageous.

It is outrageous because the Holocaust is far too terrible a crime to be exploited for political ends, especially in the state linked so closely to the tragedy of the Jewish people. It is outrageous because the only apparent purpose is to demonize the Palestinians and the current leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and to give the impression that their resistance is based solely on a longstanding hatred of the Jews, and not on their occupation by Israel or any other grievance. And it comes at a time of renewed tension in Israel, with a wave of lone-wolf attacks on Jews by knife-wielding Palestinians.

The Israeli prime minister’s assertion before the World Zionist Congress on Tuesday was not the first time he has alleged that Haj Amin al-Husseini, a grand mufti of Jerusalem, Arab nationalist and zealous foe of Zionism, was one of the instigators of the Holocaust. This time, however, Mr. Netanyahu went further and absurdly portrayed Mr. Husseini as the decisive voice in persuading a purportedly wavering Hitler to exterminate the Jews. While it is a fact that Mr. Husseini met with Hitler in 1941 in search of support, only a handful of fringe historians have claimed, with no evidence, that he planted the idea of the “final solution.”

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We’re responsible for Holocaust, not Palestinian mufti – Germany on Netanyahu remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany October 21, 2015. © Fabrizio Bensch
Germany has addressed comments made by Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the Israeli leader accused the World War II Palestinian grand mufti of inspiring the Holocaust. Berlin said it must never be forgotten that responsibility lies with Germany.

“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said when asked about Netanyahu’s Tuesday remarks.

“This is taught in German schools for good reason: it must never be forgotten. And I see no reason to change our view of history in any way. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own,” he said on Wednesday, as quoted by Reuters.

 

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‘Criticizing Russia alone is unjustified’ – German MP

A poster showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a micro bus in al-Qardahah town, near Latakia city © Khaled al-Hariri
Leaders of the US and the UK have recently slammed Russian airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, claiming they only make things worse. These allegations are “totally unacceptable,” MP from the Left Party in Germany Wolfgang Gehrcke told RT.

“Just for once I’d like to hear the US president say: ‘Yes, we’ve made a mistake,’ and expiate enmity. What I get to hear instead is insults and allegations addressed at Russia, and this is totally unacceptable.

I’ve never heard the US criticizing the UK or France in a similar way. This is only done towards Russia from the American side. In my view, only to criticize Russia is unjustified,” Gehrcke said in an interview with RT.



Russia started airstrikes on terrorist targets in Syria on Wednesday at the request of President Bashar Assad’s government. The primary objective is to provide air support for Syrian troops fighting Islamic State. Explaining Moscow’s decision to get involved in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that radicals from many countries, including Russia, have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. They must be defeated where they are, so that they do not return home with battle experience and ideology adopted in the war zone, the Russian president pointed out.

 

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Kremlin promises ‘counter-steps’ in reply to US deploying nuclear weapons to Germany

© Alexander Vilf
The planned deployment of the latest US nuclear bombs at the Buchel Air Base in Germany would disrupt the strategic balance of forces in Europe and could force a reaction from Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has stated.

It may lead to the destruction of the strategic balance in Europe. Therefore it would definitely cause Russia to take corresponding counter-steps and counter-measures in order to restore the strategic balance and parity,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

This is another step and unfortunately it is a very serious step towards increase of tensions on the European continent. Such actions cannot be described as a step towards stronger trust and greater stability,” the Russian official added.

The statement was prompted by news this week circulated by the German television channel ZDF, which found out from US budget documents about the US Air Force’s plans to bring new B61 nuclear bombs to the Luftwaffe’s Buchel Air Base. It currently hosts Tornado multipurpose aircraft that are capable of carrying atomic weapons. Twenty older bombs are stored at the base under a nuclear sharing deal, while it is the only facility in Germany, which has kept nuclear weapons since 2007.

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© Mohammed Badra
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Syrian president Bashar Assad should play a role in any talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. Her statement marks a softening in the stance of Western leaders towards the Syria’s current president.

“We have to speak with many actors, this includes Assad, but others as well,” Angela Merkel said at a press-conference following the EU emergency summit on the migration crisis.

This constitutes a marked departure from previous positions of most Western powers, which had consistently insisted that the Syrian leader’s resignation was an essential prerequisite for the conflict in the Arab country to be resolved.

“Not only with the United States of America, Russia, but with important regional partners, Iran, and Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia,” she added.

Defeating terrorism must be top priority, Syrian FM tells RT (Op-Edge) http://on.rt.com/6ry1 

Earlier this month, the German Chancellor also stressed the need for Russia’s involvement in reconciling the Syrian crisis, German Deutsche Welle reports.

On August 31, she welcomed Iran’s potential participation in negotiations aimed at putting an end to the Syrian conflict.

“I think Iran has a lot of influence over what happens in Syria. And everyone is welcome to participate constructively in the negotiations,” she said at a news conference in Berlin at that time.

From demanding Assad go…

The US has repeatedly blamed Bashar Assad for the outbreak of violence in Syria as well as for its civil war, claiming that it was he who facilitated the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“He [Assad] is the reason ISIL, and other terrorist groups, have been allowed to fester and grow and sustain themselves inside Syria. Assad regime has allowed groups like ISIL to fester and grow inside the country,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing on September 16.

 

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Image

The iconic image of 3-year-old refugee Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a beach on the Turkish coast went ‘viral’ recently and brought the two-year-long European ‘refugee crisis’ to widespread public attention. EU nations are now facing an influx of potentially hundreds of thousands of migrants feeling their NATO-war-torn countries in search of safety and stability. Whether or not they’ll find it is still an open question.

This ‘refugee’ problem is, of course, not new, and Aylan was not the first tragic death directly related to the problem. Consider the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria alone that have resulted from the U.S. government-manipulated ‘revolution’ in that country 4 years ago. Or think of the unprovoked attacks on and invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or the NATO bombardment of Libya and subsequent installation of a fundamentalist ‘Jihadi’ regime there. Then consider that 2,600 people, or more, have already died attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. The ‘refugee crisis’ has been brew for over two years, but it took Aylan’s body to make many people sit up and taking notice.

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Sputnik International

Syrian refugees jump off a dinghy as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos September 3, 2015

Migrants, Refugees, Clandestines and… Jihadis

© REUTERS/ Dimitris Michalakis
Columnists

13:27 11.09.2015(updated 16:12 11.09.2015) Get short URL
Pepe Escobar

The plight of the refugees could become the perfect excuse to precipitate a new R2P (responsibility to protect) war; Libya remixed, with fighting ISIL barely disguising the real agenda: regime change in Damascus.

So Europe has suddenly, miraculously “discovered” that the civil war/proxy war raging in Syria since early 2011 has hemorrhaged into an extremely serious refugee crisis.

European Sturm und Drang on what to do about the refugee drama is unprecedented in modern times. Bitterness permeates the fault lines separating fear and intolerance from generosity and solidarity.

Among quite a few progressive circles, there are widespread fears that the current Western media campaign centered on the plight of refugees may be a catalyst to prepare European-wide public opinion for an all-out war in Syria before the end of 2015.

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German Lawmaker: At the Root of Refugee Crisis are U.S. Wars in Middle East

Bloomberg

French Recovery Fades as Manufacturing, Services Contract

Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

An employee removes excess felt from berets inside the factory of 174-year-old… Read More

French manufacturing and services unexpectedly shrank this month, highlighting President Francois Hollande’s struggle to revive the euro area’s second-largest economy.

A Purchasing Managers Index of factory activity dropped to 49.3 from 51.2 in April, while a services gauge fell to 49.2 from 50.4, Markit Economics said today in London. Economists had forecast readings above 50, the level that divides expansion from contraction.

Hollande is grappling with an economy that stagnated in the first quarter as both investment and consumer spending fell. After two years in office, his government has yet to achieve two consecutive quarters of expansion, a performance that has driven jobless claims to an all-time high of 3.3 million and his own popularity to a record low.

 

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French economy contracts while rest of eurozone keeps expanding

The headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Germany.

The strong pace of growth in the eurozone’s private sector eased very slightly this month, with drastic price cuts preventing any further slowdown, surveys showed yesterday.

Slower growth in activity at factories took the shine off an unexpected pickup in the service industry, although the bloc’s recovery appears to be gaining traction.

“This doesn’t change the picture of the eurozone having one of its best growth spells in the past three years. It’s broad-based – with the one exception being France,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at survey compiler Markit.

Markit’s Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, based on surveys of thousands of companies across the region and seen as a good indicator of growth, edged down to 53.9 from April’s near three-year high of 54.0, matching the forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

 

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Eurozone’s 18-month-long recession may be over, economic surveys suggest

French factories

The Osram factory in Molsheim. French factories returned to growth with their strongest performance in 17 months. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Hopes of a recovery in the eurozone were lifted after private sector firms across the region reported a rise in output for the first time in 18 months, leading to predictions that the single currency bloc is on the cusp of exiting recession.

A strong performance by German manufacturers and a halt to the headlong decline in French business activity gave the eurozone a much needed boost after the area slipped into reverse last year.

With the US manufacturing sector expanding at a faster pace in July, the main blot on the global economic recovery was a decline in manufacturing output in China that some economists have warned could force Beijing to renew its stimulus spending or risk a hard landing.

China’s manufacturing sector tempered the eurozone data, slowing to an 11-month low as new orders faltered and the job market darkened.

The flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.7 this month from June’s final reading of 48.2, marking a third straight month below the 50 threshold between expansion and contraction for China.

As if to highlight concerns that global growth is slowing, Caterpillar, the US construction and mining business that is considered a bellwether of global business activity, downgraded its forecast for the pace of the global recovery this year and next.

Alexandra Knight, an economist at National Australia Bank, said the weak Chinese PMI posed a problem for countries that relied on exports to China.

“It adds to the concern about the outlook for demand, and brings into question just how strong Chinese commodities demand will be,” she said.

 

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Angela Merkel aide ‘attended Vladimir Putin party’

Angela Merkel “furious” after reports that her foreign policy expert attended Gerhard Schroeder’s birthday party with Vladimir Putin

Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor, celebrated his 70th birthday with President Vladimir Putin at St Petersburg's Jussapov Palace on Monday night

Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor, celebrated his 70th birthday with President Vladimir Putin at St Petersburg’s Jussapov Palace on Monday night Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be furious following reports that her own party’s foreign policy expert attended a much criticised party in St Petersburg with Vladimir Putin.

German media reports said Philipp Missfelder, the chief foreign policy expert for Mrs Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Party was also a guest at the controversial party held by a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, Gazprom.

Mr Schroeder, who is on the board of Gazprom and a personal friend of Mr Putin was criticised in Germany on Tuesday for openly rubbing shoulders with the Russian president while German diplomatic observers were being held hostage by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Mrs Merkel was on Thursday reported to have asked Mr Putin for help in getting the hostages freed during a telephone conversation between the two leaders.

 

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What Germany Left Behind: A Feeling of Abandonment in North Afghanistan

By Nicola Abé

Photo Gallery: An Empty Base in Afghanistan Photos
Joel van Houdt/ DER SPIEGEL

Six months ago, Germany’s military withdrew from Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Since then, regional security has eroded and many of those left behind feel abandoned. Some say that the departure came too soon.

Captain Faridoon Hakimi is sitting next to an enormous barbecue once used by the Germans to grill sausage, munching on an almond and squinting. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the midday sun is blazing down onto the former German military camp in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Next to him stands a solitary sign in the German language indicating the location of a certain “Büro Baumlade.”

It has been six months since Hakimi’s friends and allies from Germany left the camp. All of the parking slots for helicopters and armored vehicles are empty. The white blimp, which once held cameras aloft in order to monitor the camp’s immediate surroundings, no longer floats in the sky above.”We don’t need reconnaissance,” says Hakimi, 32, the new camp commander who oversees the Afghan National Army troops stationed there. “We have our eyes.” The blimp, he says smiling, was a waste of money anyway. Hakimi wears a carefully trimmed beard — and rubber sandals.

His eyes shift to the horizon where the mountains are slowly turning green, indicating spring’s approach. Hakimi knows that the green also means the Taliban will soon be back.

For 10 years, Germany was responsible for the province of Kunduz as part of its role in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It was the first real war the Bundeswehr, as Germany’s military is known, participated in, and Berlin’s aims were lofty indeed. German development experts were to help extend rights to women, democracy was to be fostered and the economy was to grow significantly. Billions of euros were made available — and the blood of German soldiers was spilled. Kunduz was a place of great sacrifice.

Until Oct. 6, 2013. On that day, Germany handed over the camp to Afghanistan.

‘Too Soon’

“They ran away,” croaks the deputy police chief for the Kunduz province in his office and gestures dismissively. “They simply ran away. It was too soon.”

“It was too soon. It was like an escape.” One can hear almost exactly the same thing from the mouths of German soldiers, some of whom even compare the Bundeswehr’s departure with that of the Americans from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. “If there is one thing the Bundeswehr is really good at, it’s retreating,” is a sentiment that can often be heard in the government quarter in Berlin these days.

What, though, did the Germans really manage to accomplish in Kunduz and what did the 25 Germans killed in the region die for? What did all the money buy? What remains of the mission? Berlin would rather not provide an answer to these questions: A complete evaluation of the Afghanistan engagement is not on the agenda.

But there are answers to be found in the Kunduz Province itself. The closer one gets to the former German camp, the emptier the roads become. There are no trees to block one’s view of the far-away horizon; occasionally, a burned out car or oil drum lies on the shoulder of the road. The pizza delivery service once patronized by the Germans has closed its doors. A few uniformed soldiers are rolling out barbed wire at the camp’s entrance. “We are here to guard the buildings,” says Said Muyer, 25, of the Afghan police. He says he is essentially in charge, adding that the real commander hardly ever makes an appearance.

The road passes by empty guard houses and torn open sandbags on the way into a ghost town of broad roads, vacant barracks and open ground where helicopters once took off and landed. It seems like a settlement of aliens who stayed for a time but then left after realizing that the planet was inhospitable — despite the fitness studios, bars and the big German barbecue.

Some 2,000 soldiers were once stationed in the camp, but there are few relics of their presence among the ruins: an aluminum can that once contained processed meat, packages of “Exotic” drink mix and a few slices of whole-grain bread.

“They only left garbage behind,” says Muyer, kicking a container of potato goulash. “We don’t eat stuff like that.” He rattles the door leading into the mess hall, inside of which the tables and chairs are neatly stacked. “Everything is locked up,” he says. Muyer says that the refrigerators were already gone by the time he arrived, sold in the town market.

 

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