Photo by Magnus Bieneck/Sonic, www.dj-sonic.net (Creative Commons License 3.0)
It must be really depressing being in the Green party. You go on and on about Volkswagen's dodgy pollution statistics for years, and no one's bothered because it's boring and they think you're all paedo-hippies who sold out the poor by signing up to Schröder's benefit cuts. And then suddenly America says Volkswagen are corrupt polluters and everyone has a fit and even Winterkorn says, "Okay, I resign" and you're all like oh, if AMERICA says it, why don't you all marry America if you love it so much, and STILL no one listens or decides they're ever gonna vote for you.
The Green party's official question to the German parliament in July not only showed that the emissions test cheating software was being used in the German car industry, but that the German government KNEW it was being used. But does anyone care? No. Why? Because the German government sees it as its job to protect German businesses abroad even if they're breaking the law. It's not just that the German government looks away, though – if the multinational companies are stuck, it greases them up and gently guides nice and snug into the loopholes of its own laws. That much came out in a documentary aired on ARD on Wednesday night about Heckler & Koch, the German gunmaker that has armed most of the world, and which makes the G36 assault rifle.
Here's the story: H&K won a contract to sell thousands of G36s to Mexico, the country with the world's highest murder rate, a corrupt police force and an ongoing drug war that has claimed around 150,000 lives. The German Foreign Ministry intervened in the deal, pointing out all the human rights abuses – torture, collusion with the cartels, disappearing anyone who mentions it – that the Mexican police force is guilty of. But the Economy Ministry said, "Okay, well, where is there the most torture and death?" and the Foreign Ministry named four Mexican states and the Economy Ministry said, "Well, what if we promised not to deliver the rifles there?" and the Foreign Ministry said, "Well, that'll be fine" so they advised H&K to remove those states from any contracts, knowing well that the Mexican government would distribute the guns to wherever the hell they wanted.
In fact, no one ever even told the Mexican government about these fine German moral/geographical distinctions in their country. But luckily, now that those states weren't in the contracts, it was deniable. Of course, it's since come out that those guns were used by police to kill students in the banned states (last year in Iguala, Guerrero). Now some H&K employees have already been sacked and are facing court cases for breaching export law – but, just as with Volkswagen, government officials should be facing jail too. But no one's gonna care. Maybe it'd help if flipping 'Merica told Merkel to do something about it.