In the latest installment of Sartor Resartus, we take an anxious, hyperventilating look at the German death-machine industry:
DÜSSELDORF -- The hulking white block of the Rheinmetall headquarters dominates the Derendorf neighborhood of Düsseldorf, Germany. Although the building is shrouded in secrecy and access is restricted, there can be little doubt that champagne corks are popping inside. The reason? Rheinmetall has just signed a 3 billion Euro contract (g) to sell almost a thousand ultra-lethal 'Fox' tanks to the authoritarian regime currently in power in oil-rich Algeria. The news sent Rheinmetall's stock soaring, further enriching the thousands of Germans who profit from weapons exports to repressive regimes in the developing world.
Rheinmetall, notorious for murderously exploiting slave labor to build weapons for the Nazis, had to apply to the German government for permission to export the tanks to the crisis-racked regime in Algeria, which only a few years ago was mired in a bloody civil war. But the German government, which constantly lectures other nations on the need to solve problems peacefully, casually rubber-stamped the deal. Spokesmen for the German government invoked the always-convenient specter of terrorism, claiming that the Algerian government was a key ally in the struggle against Al-Qaeda. But many observers are convinced the government was really eyeing the spectacular profits that would further fatten the coffers of one of Germany's richest and most politically influential companies.